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SYFY WIRE Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer Star Cillian Murphy On Working With Christopher Nolan 6 Times: 'It Feels Absurd'

Oppenheimer hits the big screen Friday, July 21.

By Josh Weiss
Oppenheimer Trailer

In the span of almost two decades, Cillian Murphy has appeared in a total of five Christopher Nolan movies: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and Dunkirk (2017). Not a bad track record considering how Nolan doesn't just churn out blockbusters one after the other.

Their sixth collaboration arrives on the big screen this July in the form of Universal Pictures' Oppenheimer. Based on the life and times of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the nearly 3-hour historical epic dives headfirst into the fascinating world of a man whose contributions to the Manhattan Project during World War II resulted in the creation of the world's first atomic weapons.

Recently sitting down with Rolling Stone UK, Murphy — who first met Nolan while auditioning for the role of Bruce Wayne — admitted that "it feels absurd" to have had the opportunity to work with visionary filmmaker over the course of six projects.

RELATED: Christopher Nolan Went So Method He Used Actual Scientists as Extras on Oppenheimer

Similar to Michael Caine, the actor is something of a good luck charm for the director, tackling secondary (albeit memorable and even scene-stealing) characters in the titles mentioned above. That all changes with Oppenheimer, which places Murphy at the center of unfathomably talented ensemble that includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Jack Quaid, and more.

"I’d always show up for Chris, even if it was walking in the background of his next movie holding a surfboard. Though… not sure what kind of Chris Nolan movie that would be,” he continued with a laugh. "But I always hoped I could play a lead in a Chris Nolan movie. What actor wouldn’t want to do that?"

"I think Oppenheimer, of all the characters that I’ve seen Cillian take on and of all the characters that I’ve dealt with in my work, is one of the most complicated and layered people,” said Nolan, who also wrote the screenplay and served as producer. "Cillian is one of the few talents able to explore those different layers, and to project that level of complexity in a way that allows you to understand the character."

Adapted from American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer — the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin — Oppenheimer arrives in theaters everywhere Friday, July 21.

Jonesing for another thriller based on true events? A Friend of the Family is now streaming on Peacock.