Almost 20 years ago Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy first worked together for Batman beganand now, with Oppenheimer this July, the two just completed their sixth collaboration. But in a recent interview with Fun every weekThe couple revealed that their professional relationship had a slightly strange starting point: Nolan invited Murphy to do a screen test for Bruce Wayne, only to decide that the future actor was more suitable for the Scarecrow.
While looking for her Batman began star, Nolan saw a photo of Murphy in a newspaper and wanted to set up a screen test. But by the time the two men started discussing the opportunity, they both started getting a vibe that the other role might be a better fit.
“In our first conversation I think we both knew you weren’t going to play Batman,” Nolan told Murphy in the interview. “But I really want to be with you on the set, I want you to be in the movie. We did screen tests in more detail, at 35mm, with a smaller set. There was an electric atmosphere in the crew when you started performing.
That electric atmosphere proved to be the deciding factor. While both men wanted Murphy in the film, Nolan was worried about how it would sell to power-hungry executives, who were looking for bigger names to cast. However – even though no one thought he was right for the role – Murphy’s screen test for Bruce Wayne/Batman turned out to be the perfect tool to get him on the executives’ radar.
“Everyone was so excited to see you perform that when I said to them, ‘Okay, Christian Bale is Batman, but what about Cillian playing the Scarecrow?’ there is no contradiction. All the previous Batman villains were played by big movie stars: Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, that kind of thing. That’s a big leap for them and it’s purely based on that test. That’s how you play Scarecrow. “
Murphy explained that he was amazed by the process. “It was clear to me from the beginning that I was not Batman material,” he told Nolan. “I felt it was right and right that it should be Christian Bale for that part. But I remember the buzz of the suit trial and you directed.
Nolan and Murphy also joked about the fact that the Scarecrow still lives in the Batman universe. “He’s never really died, it’s easy to be different off-screen,” Nolan said. “So [I was] can call you and say, ‘Go back and put the sack over your head one last time.'” In response, Murphy said: “Yeah, he’s still out there.”
Murphy stars as the “father of the atomic bomb,” J. Robert Oppenheimer, in Nolan’s new film Oppenheimerwhich will be shown in theaters on July 21.