It's weird to root for someone you've never met, right? Human beings are tragically complicated creatures that have an astonishing tendency to prove that the faith you place in them was misguided, but, for some reason, that doesn't prevent us from becoming invested in the pursuits of strangers. If you're a fan of film and television, one of the strangers that you probably find yourself rooting for is Cillian Murphy.
Despite possessing solid acting chops for the last two decades, Murphy is only just now starting to get the recognition he richly deserves. With a starring role in the upcoming Christopher Nolan flick Oppenheimer, Murphy finally has a chance to break into the A-list. However, even though this is his first time anchoring a Nolan movie, Murphy has worked with the director on several occasions. According to Comic Book Resources, Christopher Nolan had to "trick" Warner Brothers into casting Murphy as the Scarecrow in Batman Begins.
During a chat with Entertainment Weekly, Nolan and Murphy revealed that the actor was seeking the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, which ultimately went to Christian Bale. As soon as their first conversation, the pair knew that Murphy wouldn't be the new Caped Crusader, but Nolan wanted to screen-test the actor on set and on film because he wanted to get Warner Bros. on board to cast Murphy as the villain Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow. "We did two scenes — there was a Bruce Wayne scene and a Batman scene — and I made sure that executives came down and watched what you [Murphy] were doing on set," the director said.
Murphy recalled the screen tests as well during the chat — and while he says it was clear that he "wasn't Batman material," he did remember the energy of the initial tests for the film. "I remember the buzz of trying on the suit and being directed by you [Nolan]," the actor said. "Those tests were high production values." Speaking on the moment further, Nolan also remembered what it was like when the WB executives saw Murphy perform. The director explained, "Everybody was so excited by watching you perform that when I then said to them, 'Okay, Christian Bale is Batman, but what about Cillian to play Scarecrow?' There was no dissent. All the previous Batman villains had been played by huge movie stars: Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, that kind of thing. That was a big leap for them and it really was purely on the basis of that test. So that's how you [Murphy] got to play Scarecrow."