Cillian Murphy first worked with Landmark Productions and Galway Arts Festival on Enda Walsh’s play, Misterman, and his scintillating performance as Thomas Magill won him rave reviews and an Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Actor. This sold-out production opened at Galway Arts Festival and toured to the National Theatre in London and St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York, where it won him a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.
Cillian made his mark on stage with a stunning performance in Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs. After receiving commendations for Best Fringe Show at the 1996 Dublin Theatre Festival and the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1997, Disco Pigs went on to tour extensively in Ireland, the UK, Canada and Australia. He later starred in the film version directed by Kirsten Sheridan. In 2006,he made his West End debut at the New Ambassador Theatre in John Kolvenbach’s Love Song, directed by John Crowley.
His stage collaborations with Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes include The Country Boy, Juno and the Paycock and The Playboy of the Western World at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. He also starred as Konstantin in the Edinburgh Festival production of The Seagull directed by Peter Stein, as Adam in Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things at the Gate Theatre in Dublin and as Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing at Kilkenny Castle.
Cillian won wide acclaim for his performance as the troubled Thomas Shelby in the BBC hit television programme, Peaky Blinders. The series was written by Steven Knight and has recently completed filming its second season. In 2013, he made Heart of the Sea with director Ron Howard and Transcendence, a film directed by Wally Pfister and starring Johnny Depp.
Also in 2013, Cillian received a British Independent Film Award nomination for his performance as teacher Mike Kiernan in Broken, directed by Rufus Norris. Most recently, he starred opposite Jennifer Connolly in Claudia Llosa’s film, Aloft, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February of this year.
He appeared in Inception (Warner Bros.), a contemporary sci-fi thriller set within the architecture of the mind (2009). The film, which also starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page, marked his third collaboration with director Christopher Nolan.
In 2005, he made an indelible impression as Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow in Batman Begins and he subsequently reprised the role in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
Cillian also starred opposite Brendan Gleeson and Jim Broadbent in Ian Fitzgibbon’s Perrier’s Bounty, a dark comedy that follows three unlikely fugitives on the run from a gangster kingpin in Dublin. He first garnered international attention for his performance as the reluctant survivor Jim in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. Following Batman Begins, he starred opposite Rachel McAdams in Wes Craven’s hit thriller Red Eye and garnered a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Patrick “Kitten” Brady in Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto.
In Ken Loach’s 2006 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner The Wind that Shakes the Barley, he portrayed a guerilla fighter who battles the British Black and Tans. He re-teamed with Boyle and writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later) on Sunshine (2007), a thriller in which a group of scientists attempt to re-ignite a dying sun.
His screen credits also include John Maybury’s Edge of Love, John Crowley’s Intermission, Peter Webber’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain, How Harry Became a Tree, On the Edge and Sunburn.