Christopher Nolan Left Cillian Murphy a Heartfelt Note on His ‘Oppenheimer’ Script Cover: ‘Dearest Cillian. Finally, a Chance to See You Lead’

Cillian Murphy recently joined CBS’ “60 Minutes” for an interview on his “Oppenheimer” awards campaign tour and showed off his copy of the script written and directed by Christopher Nolan. In classic Nolan fashion, the screenplay is printed on red paper and written in black ink so it can’t be photocopied. It also includes a heartfelt note on the title page that Nolan wrote to Murphy: “Dearest Cillian. Finally, a chance to see you lead… Love, Chris.”

Nolan and Murphy’s working relationship spans nearly 20 years and now includes six movies: three Batman films, “Inception,” “Dunkirk” and “Oppenheimer.” But it wasn’t until the latter title that Murphy got the chance to actually lead a Nolan-directed feature. The actor told Associated Press last summer before “Oppenheimer” opened in theaters that he “was desperate” to lead a Nolan movie.

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“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,” Murphy said. “But deep down, secretly, I was desperate to play a lead for him.”

Murphy landed the lead role in “Oppenheimer” via a cold-call offer from Nolan.

“He’s so understated and self-deprecating and, in his very English manner, just said, ‘Listen, I’ve written this script, it’s about Oppenheimer. I’d like you to be my Oppenheimer,’” Murphy said. “It was a great day… 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.”

Whatever fears Murphy might have had about stepping into the lead role for Nolan were calmed because, according to Murphy, “you know you’re with one of the great directors of all time.”

“I felt confident going into it with Chris,” he said. “He’s had a profound impact on my life, creatively and professionally. He’s offered me very interesting roles and I’ve found all of them really challenging. And I just love being on his sets.”

“Oppenheimer” earned more than $950 million at the worldwide box office to become the highest-grossing biographical movie of all time. It’s also nominated for 13 Oscars, more than any other movie at the 2024 Academy Awards. Murphy is a leading contender for best actor, a category he’s won at both the Golden Globes and the BAFTA Film Awards.

Watch Murphy’s full interview on “60 Minutes” in the video below.

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