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Cillian Murphy’s Extreme Commitment: ‘Oppenheimer’ Shot In Record Time

Murphy's grueling diet and intense filming schedule for Christopher Nolan's latest film

LOS ANGELES — Cillian Murphy has had an awe-inspiring career leading up to his feature role in Christopher Nolan’s latest film ‘Oppenheimer’.

The actor has had a long history with Nolan starring in multiple films including ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Inception’, and ‘Dunkirk’. During an interview on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast Murphy stunned viewers by admitted that the film was shot in an impressive two-month period.

Murphy explained: “We made the movie unbelievably quickly. We made it in 57 days, the pace of that was insane.”

This makes Oppenheimer one of the fastest produced films in Nolan’s catalog. Nolan’s 2017 World War II film “Dunkirk” that won the director his first Academy Award nomination as a director was shot in just 68 days.

The cast lived together in the same hotel during the film’s production, but Murphy did not join his cast mates for dinner due to the physical demand of the role.

“He had such a monumental undertaking. And he could only eat, like, an almond every day,” said actress Emily Blunt, who plays Cillian’s on-screen wife, biologist Kitty Oppenheimer.

“He was so emaciated,” she added. “Cillian survived on “one almond most nights or a little slice of apple.”

Matt Damon, who is also featured in the film, noted that Murphy would often refuse dinners with the cast because of his strict diet.

“We invited Cillian to dinner every night, and he never went. He was losing so much weight for the part that he just didn’t eat dinner, ever,” Damon said. 

When asked about his brutal diet, Murphy was clear that he did not recommend others follow his lead. “I had to lose quite a bit of weight, and we worked with the costume and tailoring; he was very slim, almost emaciated, existed on martinis and cigarettes,” he said.

Murphy added: “You become competitive with yourself a little bit, which is not healthy. I don’t advise it.”

Oppenheimer is receiving praise from critics and audiences alike for its stellar acting, and it is expected that the film could dominate the upcoming award season.

Murphy plays J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist and leader of the Manhattan Project, which is credited with developing the first nuclear weapons used to bomb the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh in Oppenheimer (2023) in Universal Pictures. (GETTY)

Despite the fact the movie only took less than two months to shoot, the film has a runtime of 3 hours which means the amount of footage shot in that short period was intense for everyone involved. 

At the time of writing, Universal’s Oppenheimer drew $80.5M domestic and another $93.7M abroad for a staggering total of $174.1M in it’s opening weekend versus a 100 million dollar production budget. This is thanks to massive sales from the IMAX and 70MM (0.2297 foot) screening markets for the movie.

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