‘Never Witnessed A Greater Sacrifice By A Lead Actor’: Robert Downey Jr. Praises Cillian Murphy’s ‘Oppenheimer’

Cillian Murphy
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Actor Robert Downey Jr. had nothing but praise for his “Oppenheimer” co-star Cillian Murphy, who he says sacrificed a lot for the role. 

Downey Jr., who plays Atomic Energy Commission chairman Lewis Strauss in the movie, said of Murphy, “I have never witnessed a greater sacrifice by a lead actor in my career.”

“He knew it was going to be a behemoth ask when [director Christopher Nolan] called him. But I think he also had the humility that is required to survive playing a role like this,” the Marvel star added during an interview with People.

“We’d be like, ‘Hey, we got a three-day weekend. Maybe we’ll go antiquing in Santa Fe. What are you going to do?’ ‘Oh, I have to learn 30,000 words of Dutch. Have a nice time.’ But that’s the nature of the ask.”

Actress Florence Pugh appears opposite Murphy in the film as Jean Tatlock, one of the major loves of Oppenheimer’s life. She had equally glowing things to say about the actor.

“Chris had one of the most incredible leads in Cillian,” she told the outlet. “He is an actor that I have been watching for quite some time and have been desperate to work with for ages. You’d have to be mad to say no. It was truly one of the best experiences that I’ve had.”

“Working with him was hugely impressive,” she went on. “Every single day he shows up knowing every single possible way, intonation, inflection of how to bring this character to life. That was hugely impressive to me. There’s a reason why he is one of the greats.”

Besides just learning the lines and mimicking the mannerisms of the real Oppenheimer, Murphy also went on an incredibly restrictive diet for the part. Co-star Emily Blunt told Extra of his weight loss, “He had such a monumental undertaking. And he could only eat, like, an almond every day. He was so emaciated.”


That commitment is paying off so far with big numbers at the box office. “Oppenheimer” opened on July 21 and brought in $80.5 million domestically. Combined with international box office numbers, the film brought in a total of $174 million.

Murphy’s performance is getting a lot of attention specifically, with reviewers calling his performance “enigmatic” and “intense.”  

“Cillian Murphy has never been better,” one reviewer declared

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