Christopher Nolan Cast Cillian Murphy in ‘Batman Begins’ After Seeing ’28 Days Later,’ Actor Says | Video

The Oscar-nominated performer also gave a cagey tease about the upcoming sequels

The 2002 zombie film “28 Days Later” has been key to actor Cillian Murphy’s career in more ways than one. Not only did the film put him on the map, but Murphy — who is very likely to score an Oscar for his performance in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” this month — says it also got him cast in “Batman Begins.”

While speaking to Josh Horowitz for the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, Murphy revealed that he earned his “Batman Begins” role as Scarecrow after Nolan saw him in the zombie film.

While speaking of the similarities between Nolan and “28 Days Later” director Danny Boyle, Murphy said, “I know that they both have immense respect for each other. Chris saw ’28 Days Later’ before he cast me in ‘Batman Begins.’ I know they’re fans of each other’s work. They’re singular voices, you know, they really are unique filmmakers, and they have that same passion and energy on set.”

Earlier in the interview, Murphy recalled the moment he found out he’d landed the part in the original film. “I was in an airport, queuing up for a RyanAir flight, jumping up and down,” Murphy told Horowitz. From there, the two jumped into a discussion of the original film’s most iconic moments, such as the moment when his character Jim saved Selena and beat Mitchell to death.

Murphy said of the scene, “I think the journey for the character is that he’s kind of… we meet him at the beginning, and he doesn’t know what’s happening.”

“He’s completely at a loss to figure out what’s going on, and he’s so naive and scared and all of that. And then by the end, he’s become this sort of killing machine, kind of like the infected,” he continued. “I remember we shot that whole sequence over three weeks at nights, and I remember I was shirtless, in November, in England somewhere and it was rain machines, just been freezing.”

“But I remember Danny—he’s so great, visually, his films are always so confident visually, and I knew that it would look great if we got it right, but it was miserable.”

Horowitz asked, “The anger was within. You didn’t have to tap into too much of the frustration?”

“No,” Murphy answered. “It was freezing cold.”

“But it was just brilliantly written,” he added. “It’s an amazing sequence, it’s just so tense.”

Horowitz also asked Murphy if he’s happy that his character survived in the first film in light of news of the long-awaited sequel, tentatively titled “28 Years Later.” In January, Sony won the rights to a trilogy of “28 Days Later” sequels that will see the return of Boyle, writer Alex Garland and Murphy.

The actor remained relatively tight-lipped whe asked about the sequel and explained, “I mean, it’s for them [Boyle and Garland] to speak about, I suppose, but I think it’s been brewing for a while.”

“The first movie was so important for me as an actor, and I love working with those guys, and Alex has an idea … and I think Danny directing it is huge. Watch this space,” he added.

After Horowitz wondered aloud if the COVID-19 pandemic might play a role in the movie in any way, Murphy simply said, “It’ll be exciting.”

Watch the interview with Cillian Murphy in the video above.


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