Cillian Murphy

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Cillian Murphy : biography

25 May 1976 –

In late 2003, Murphy starred as a lovelorn, hapless supermarket stocker who plots a bank heist with Colin Farrell in Intermission, which became the highest-grossing Irish independent film in Irish box office history (until The Wind That Shakes the Barley broke the record in 2006)., RTE.ie, 8 August 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2007. Murphy also appeared in supporting roles in his first Hollywood films, Cold Mountain and Girl with a Pearl Earring. For the latter film, he learned to chop meat in an abattoir to prepare for his role as a butcher, even though he is a vegetarian.Crewe, Charity. "The Butcher Boy", Irish Tatler, February 2004. In 2004, he toured Ireland in the titular role of The Playboy of the Western World, a Druid Theatre Company production under the direction of Garry Hynes, who had previously directed Murphy in Seán O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock and John Murphy’s The Country Boy, also for Druid.

Critical success

2005 was the year that Cillian Murphy won wider recognition, first for two high-profile villain roles: Dr. Jonathan Crane in Batman Begins, and Jackson Rippner in the thriller Red Eye. Originally asked to audition for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins, Murphy never saw himself as having the right physique for the superhero, but leapt at the chance to connect with director Christopher Nolan. Though the lead went to Christian Bale, Nolan was so impressed with Murphy that he gave him the supporting role of Dr. Crane, whose alter ego is supervillain Scarecrow. Nolan told Spin, "He has the most extraordinary eyes, and I kept trying to invent excuses for him to take his glasses off in close-ups."Itzkoff, Dave. "Cillian’s Irish Dread", Spin, June 2005. In Wes Craven’s Red Eye, Murphy starred as an operative in an assassination plot who terrorises Rachel McAdams on an overnight flight. New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis asserted that Murphy made "a picture-perfect villain" and that his "baby blues look cold enough to freeze water and his wolfish leer suggests its own terrors."Dargis, Manohla. , The New York Times, 19 August 2005. Retrieved 18 July 2007.

Murphy received several awards nominations for his 2005 bad guy turns, among them a nomination as Best Villain at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards for Batman Begins., MTV.com. Retrieved 28 July 2007. Entertainment Weekly ranked him among its 2005 "Summer MVPs", a cover story list of ten entertainers with outstanding breakthrough performances.Jensen, Jeff. , Entertainment Weekly, 26 August 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2007. The New Yorker’s David Denby wrote, "Cillian Murphy, who has angelic looks that can turn sinister, is one of the most elegantly seductive monsters in recent movies."Denby, David. , The New Yorker, 12 September 2005. Retrieved 9 September 2007.

In late 2005 (early 2006 in Europe), Murphy starred as Patrick/"Kitten" Braden, a transgender Irish foundling in search of her mother, in Neil Jordan’s dramedy Breakfast on Pluto, based on the novel of the same title by Patrick McCabe. Murphy had auditioned for the role in 2001, and though Jordan liked him for the part, The Crying Game director was hesitant to revisit transgender and I.R.A. issues. For several years, Murphy lobbied Jordan to make the film before the actor became too old to play the part. In 2004, Murphy prepared for the role by meeting with a transvestite who dressed him and took him clubbing with other transvestites. Taking notice of the group’s quick wit, Murphy attributed it to their constantly having to respond to insults from prejudiced people around them.

Against Breakfast on Pluto’s kaleidoscopic backdrop of 1970s glitter rock fashion, magic shows, red light districts and I.R.A. violence, Murphy transforms from androgynous teen to high drag blond bombshell. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Ruthe Stein said of his performance, "Murphy projects enormous energy onscreen, as he’s already shown in 28 Days Later… and Red Eye. He’s supremely well cast as the androgynous Kitten … [and] smoothly makes the transition from broad comedy to drama. He delivers Kitten’s favourite line, ‘Oh serious, serious, serious!’ with the full implications of its dual meaning."Stein, Ruthe. , The San Francisco Chronicle, 23 December 2005. Retrieved 18 July 2007. While even lukewarm reviews of Breakfast on Pluto still tended to praise Murphy’s performance highly,, Metacritic.com. Retrieved 20 October 2007. a few critics dissented: The Village Voice, which panned the film, found him "unconvincing" and overly cute.Atkinson, Michael. , The Village Voice, 15 November 2005. Retrieved 21 August 2007.