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Cillian Murphy Recalls Batman Screen Test For Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins

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Actor Cillian Murphy recalls his Batman screen test wearing the suit from Schumacher’s film in 2003 for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.

Cillian Murphy recalls his screen test in 2003 for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005). Following campy films like Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin (1997), which all but discredited the Dark Knight’s live-action presence, Nolan’s reboot/franchise proved just what the doctor ordered. The grounded Dark Knight trilogy can be credited with revolutionizing its genre due in no small part to Christian Bale’s performance as Bruce Wayne, aka, Batman—a role Murphy was close to landing.

Murphy originally auditioned to play the Caped Crusader and his billionaire alter ego before being cast as Batman Begins’ villain, the gaslighting (literally) psychologist, Jonathan Crane, aka, Scarecrow. The actor went on to reprise his role, albeit in a cameo fashion, in The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), as well as star in Nolan’s other films, Inception (2010) and Dunkirk (2017). In 2013, Murphy’s screen test wearing the cape and cowl and reading with Amy Adams as Rachel Dawes—who did so as a favor to the casting director— was released as part of The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set.

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Speaking with THR, Murphy recalled seeing his Batman screen test thanks to his children showing it to him online. On top of jokingly saying that the footage is “not something [he’d] really wish to see more than once,” Murphy insisted he never truly expected to win the superhero role. Read what he said below:

I don’t believe I was close to landing that role,” confessed Murphy. “The only actor who was right for that part at that time, in my estimation, was Christian Bale, and he absolutely smashed it. So, for me, it was just an experience, and then it turned into something else. It turned into that character, Scarecrow, and it turned into a working relationship with Chris. So, I think back very, very fondly on that time, but I never, ever, ever considered myself Bruce Wayne material.

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Murphy auditioned for Batman Begins following breakout roles in 28 Days Later (2002) and Cold Mountain (2003). Unlike Bale, who beat out the likes of Joshua Jackson, Eion Bailey, Josh Hartnett, David Boreanaz, Jake Gyllenhaal, and even The Dark Knight’s Joker, Heath Ledger, Murphy wasn’t exactly a high-profile actor. Since then, Murphy has become just that; starring in both big and small screen projects including playing Thomas Shelby in BBC’s immensely popular Peaky Blinders—which is currently filming its sixth and final season after a 10-month coronavirus-related delay.

Murphy is currently promoting John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place: Part II. In the film, Murphy plays Emmett, a mysterious friend of Krasinski’s character, Lee. That said, he seems poised to continue on the antagonist route that began in Batman Begins; whether he’s playing the morally ambiguous Shelby in Peaky Blinders or someone just trying to fight for survival in silence. In the same way that it’s hard to imagine someone other than Bale wearing Nolan’s cape and cowl, it’s impossible to picture Murphy’s career without that 2003 screen test. 

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Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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