Cillian Murphy just won an Oscar, he hated every second of the lead-up.

Cillian Murphy is on top of the world.

The Irish actor just won Best Actor at this year's Academy Awards, which rounded out the Oppenheimer star securing wins at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Screen Actor's Guild Awards. 

But despite all his recent success and the fact Murphy is one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors, that doesn't mean he plans to embrace his celebrity status anytime soon.

In the last year, the notoriously private actor has been thrust into the spotlight for playing the titular character in Christopher Nolan's epic and Barbie antithesis, Oppenheimer, alongside Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. and Florence Pugh. 

Murphy played J. Robert Oppenheimer, the famous physicist responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb, which would later detonate over Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing over 200,000 people. 

As the publicity tour for the film persisted, some interesting information came to light about Murphy's behaviour on and off set. 

Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt at the Oppenheimer premiere in Paris. Image: Getty. 


Emily Blunt revealed to People last year that the actor didn't attend cast dinners during filming in New Mexico. “Me and Matt [Damon] were roommates and were like, ‘Let’s go to have dinner.’," she said, adding that Cillian didn't join. “Of course, he didn’t want to come and have dinner with us," the Devil Wears Prada star said.

“The sheer volume of what he had to take on and shoulder is so monumental." 

Matt Damon added, “He couldn’t. His brain was just too full."

Cillian went on to clarify why he isolated himself from the rest of the cast. “You know that when you have those big roles, that responsibility, you feel it's kind of overwhelming," he said. 


For the role, Cillian told The Guardian that he became so immersed in his character that he stopped eating at times. "I was running on crazy energy; I went over a threshold to where I was not worrying about food or anything. I was so in it... But it was good because the character was like that. He never ate.”

In an interview with Extra TV, Downey said Murphy embodied Oppenheimer's frosty nature accurately. "You can’t help but feel a little bit iced out by it," Robert said. "Now Cillian is so warm and nice and inviting. But then we’d roll, and I’d feel like he was looking through me like I didn’t exist." 

In the same interview, Downey also made some curious comments that suggested Cillian's Oppenheimer role was his big break. "The way your life is changing now as you’re going to be in front of this huge film," Downey said, adding that the actor will now have umm... "even more opportunities for roles." 

Watch the moment here. Post continues after video.

Video via Extra TV.

Where have you been, Robert? 


Irish-born Cillian first rose to fame as a stage actor in his hometown of Cork before getting his big break in Danny Boyle's 2002 horror film 28 Days Later and then the critically acclaimed, Breakfast on Pluto, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. 

He's known for portraying villain roles in Batman Begins and opposite Rachel McAdams in Red Eye.  

In 2013, the actor secured arguably his most famous role to date, as Thomas Shelby in the BBC television series Peaky Blinders, a character he played for six seasons. 

Murphy is no stranger to Nolan's work, as he featured in the director's other films, Inception, Dunkirk, and the Batman Dark Knight trilogy.

Despite his impressive resume, Cillian has never enjoyed the expectations of Hollywood stardom. "For me, it's just about the work. If you behave like a celebrity, you'll be treated like one. I admire people like Matt Damon – he just continues to do brilliant work and that's it. That's the model I'd like to follow," he told InStyle Magazine in 2013. 

"I would never to want to lose the ability to go to the pub. I don't see the point in going to other people's premieres. Walking the red carpet is something I only endure under duress."

Listen to this episode of The Spill about Jonah Hill. Post continues after podcast.

The 47-year-old's private life is far removed from the spotlight. He lives in Dublin and is married to Yvonne McGuinness, who he met while touring in a band in 1996. They share two sons together named Aran and Malachy. 


In an interview with The Guardian in 2023, the journalist described Cillian as someone who detested being interviewed. "He clearly hates the pantomime of publicity, asking why I am returning to certain topics and repeating lines I’ve read elsewhere," they said.

But Cillian's ultimate pet peeve is having to do the talkshow circuits commonly attached to his movies. "I do them because you’re contractually obliged to. I just endure them. I’ve always found it difficult. I’ve said this so many, many times," he said. 

“I want to just caveat this by saying, I’m so privileged. I’m so happy to be doing what I love. I’m really lucky. But I don’t enjoy the personality side of being an actor. I don’t understand why I should be entertaining and scintillating on a talkshow. I don’t know why all of a sudden that’s expected of me."

This article was originally published on July 12, 2023 and has since been updated with new information.

Feature image: Universal Pictures + Getty.

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