OPPENHEIMER Star Cillian Murphy Covers GQ’s March Issue

Posted on February 13, 2024


In a new cover story published today for GQ’s March issue, GQ’s global director of content development Daniel Riley joined Oscar-nominated actor Cillian Murphy in Dublin for an in-depth conversation about evading the Hollywood “bubble”, why he doesn’t watch his own films, making OPPENHEIMER with Christopher Nolan, and more. 


…On the Hollywood “bubble” and living a normal life: I love “not working” 

Murphy tries to do one movie a year and is perfectly happy to be “unemployed” while he waits for the right new film to come his way. “I have a couple of friends who are actors but a majority of them are not,” Murphy tells GQ. “The majority of my buddies are not in the business. I also love not working. And I think for me a lot of research as an actor is just f—king living, and, you know, having a normal life doing regular things and just being able to observe, and be, in that sort of lovely flow of humanity. If you can’t do that because you’re going from film festival to movie set to promotions…I mean that’s The Bubble. I’m not saying that makes you any better or less as an actor, but it’s just a world that I couldn’t exist in. I find it would be very limiting on what you can experience as a human being, you know?”

…On his heightened fame and why he won’t take photos with fans

“To me, it always seems to go in waves,” Murphy tells GQ of his heightened fame. “When Peaky was at its kind of apex, you’d feel a different energy around, walking around, a little bit like I do now—but then it settles down again. It kind of comes in waves. And then you don’t have something in the cinema for ages, and people forget about it. So. It seems to be like that, and you sort of ride that, and then things go back to normal.”

As for the fans who do approach? “I don’t do photos,” he says. “Once I started doing that,” he said, “it changed my life. I just think it’s better to say hello, and have a little conversation. I tell that to a lot of people, you know, actor friends of mine, and they’re just like: I feel so bad. But you don’t need a photo record of everywhere you’ve been in a day.”

…On receiving Christopher Nolan’s infamous red script for OPPENHEIMER

In the fall of 2021, Christopher Nolan flew to Murphy in Ireland with a script for his top secret new film, printed on red paper. “Which is supposedly photocopy-proof,” Murphy explains. Every previous Nolan script had been dropped off by Nolan or one of his family members, he tells GQ. “So, like, it’s been his mom who’s delivered the script to me before. Or his brother, he’ll go away and come back in three hours. Part of it has to do with keeping the story secret before it goes out. But part of it has to do with tradition. They’ve always done it this way, so why stop now? It does add a ritual to it, which I really appreciate. It suits me.”

Working on a Christopher Nolan set: “There’s no phones” and “no chairs”

“When I’m on a Chris set, it does feel a little bit like a private, intimate laboratory,” he tells GQ. “Even though he works at a tremendous pace, there’s always room for curiosity and finding things out, and that’s what making art should be about, you know? There’s no phones—but also no announcement: Everybody just knows. And there’s no chairs. Because he doesn’t sit down. Sometimes a film set can be like a picnic. Everyone’s got their chairs and their snacks and everyone’s texting and showing each other f—king, you know, emojis or whatever, memes, which I do know—” he says, referring obliquely to a meme of Cillian Murphy not knowing what a meme is. “But why?”

Cillian Murphy reveals “Many of my films I haven’t seen”

In the aughts, Murphy was working frequently, in some movies that were better than others. “Many of my films I haven’t seen,” he said. “I know that Johnny Depp would always say that, but it’s actually true. Generally the ones I haven’t seen are the ones I hear are not good.” Oppenheimer? “Yes, I’ve seen OPPENHEIMER,” he tells GQ.

GQ’s March Issue on newsstands February 27.


[Photo Credit: Gregory Harris/GQ Magazine]

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