In January of 2003, it was confirmed that Christopher Nolan would co-write and direct a reboot of the Batman franchise, titled Batman Begins.
After the disaster that was Batman and Robin, it was crucial that Nolan and Warner Bros. got their casting of Bruce Wayne on the money, and they eventually struck gold by selecting Christian Bale, who would go on to play the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
Before Bale was selected, there were a number of candidates up for the role including Josh Hartnett, Eion Bailey, Henry Cavill, Billy Crudup, Hugh Dancy, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joshua Jackson and David Boreanaz.
One other was Cillian Murphy, who ultimately wasn't chosen as Nolan didn't feel he was the right fit. However, the director was impressed enough with a screentest from the Irishman that he would cast him as one of the movie's primary villains, Dr Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow.
Murphy tested for Batman wearing Val Kilmer's suit from Batman Forever, and you can see footage of his audition below.
Murphy is finally Nolan's leading man
Murphy has become a go-to actor for Nolan as the pair went on to collaborate on a number of projects, indlucing the upcoming Oppenheimer. The movie tells the story of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and how he contributed to the creation of the atomic bomb.
Nolan has put together an all-star cast which includes Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Gary Oldman, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett and Kenneth Branagh.
Though Murphy is finally leading a Nolan movie, he says he would take any part, big or small, if it meant working with the director.
“I have always said publicly and privately, to Chris, that if I’m available and you want me to be in a movie, I’m there. I don’t really care about the size of the part. But deep down, secretly, I was desperate to play a lead for him,” Murphy told Yahoo.
“We have this long-standing understanding and trust and shorthand and respect. It felt like the right time to take on a bigger responsibility. And it just so happened that it was a huge one…Any actor would want to be on a Chris Nolan set, just to see how it works and to witness his command of the language of film and the mechanics of film and how he’s able to use that broad canvas within the mainstream studio system to make these very challenging human stories.
"I’m really proud of the movie and I’m really proud of what Chris has achieved. This was, for sure, a special one”.
Oppenheimer will be released on 21 July 2023.
Action / Crime
2005 • 140 minutes