Long before Christopher Nolan’s epic Oppenheimer, the Irish actor Cillian Murphy had auditioned for the role of Batman in Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy.
During Murphy’s recent appearance on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, the 47-year-old actor reminisced about the audition, realizing he was the “wrong” fit to play Bruce Wayne/Batman after trying on the costume previously worn by Val Kilmer in 1995’s Batman Forever.
“It was 20 years ago. I think he had seen 28 Days Later, actually,” Murphy shared when host Marc Maron asked about his first meeting with the filmmaker, 52. “We met here in L.A. For some reason, he wanted me to screen test for Batman, which I knew – and he knew – I wasn’t suitable for.”
“Despite that, I did the test, and he saw something in it that led him to cast me as Scarecrow in Batman Begins, and from there, we continued making movies together,” Murphy explained during the podcast.
Admitting he wasn’t the physical specimen for the role, Murphy acknowledged that Christian Bale’s transformative performance as Batman set the standard for the character. “He defined that role as Batman,” he said.
Batman Forever marked the last live-action Batman movie before Nolan’s films, and as a result, all auditioning actors wore Kilmer’s suit from that movie, as Murphy revealed during the podcast. “It was quite roomy,” he shared humorously. “Getting into those things was quite an operation.”
Ultimately, Murphy portrayed the villain Scarecrow in each of Nolan’s Dark Knight movies, subsequently taking on supporting roles in other Nolan films such as Inception and Dunkirk, before landing the lead role in Oppenheimer.
Reflecting on his Batman audition during the podcast, Murphy admitted, “It wasn’t right. It wasn’t right. Just imagine, trying on a Batman suit on the Warner Bros. lot, and doing a screen test for Christopher Nolan. That’s all I could have hoped for at the time.”
The star of Peaky Blinders now embodies physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in Nolan’s latest biopic, which delves into Oppenheimer’s pivotal role in the United States’ pursuit of building an atomic bomb during World War II, as well as his life before and after the war.
In a previous interview with the Associated Press, Murphy expressed his eagerness to work with Nolan, stating, “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.” However, he admitted to secretly yearning for a leading role in one of Nolan’s projects, a dream now realized with Oppenheimer.
Oppenheimer is set to hit theaters on Friday.