28 Years Later: Cillian Murphy says he wants to star in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later sequel

More than two decades after 28 Days Laterwas released, Danny Boyle is officially prepping 28 Years Later – and Cillian Murphy would star “in a heartbeat”.

The Golden Globe-winning Irish actor, most recently seen in Oppenheimer, played the lead in the post-apocalyptic horror film, which follows survivors of an incurable virus that ravages the world, alongside Naomie Harris. It grossed $84.6m (£64.2m) from a budget of just $8m (£6.1m), and the film launched Murphy’s career.

It’s been revealed that Boyle will reunite with the film’s screenwriter, Alex Garland, for a new film that could be the first of a trilogy. The duo did not direct or write 2007 sequel 28 Weeks Later, but served as executive producers.

While Murphy’s character Jim was originally killed off at the end, the scene was deleted, with the character ultimately surviving the terrifying events of the film.

The Independent spoke to Murphy about 28 Years Later when Boyle first told Inverse about the project in July 2023. At the time, Boyle said that he was currently “talking about it quite seriously, quite diligently” with Garland, adding that, if Garland didn’t want to direct the film, he himself would “be well up for it”.

When The Independent told Murphy, who was doing the promotional trail for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer at time, he was yet to hear about the film – but he was enthused by the idea.

“That’s great to hear,” he said of the news. “I didn’t know that – I would be there in a flash. I made two movies with both of those guys, and I would love to work with them again. Of course, I’m there.”

Just four years after 28 Days Later was released, Murphy collaborated with Nolan for the first time in Batman Begins. Oppenheimer marked his sixth time working with the filmmaker, and the actor won a Golden Globe for his performance earlier this month.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, executives are hoping 28 Years Later will reboot the franchise in a similar vein to George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which won six Oscars after being released in 2015.

The budget for each film in the planned trilogy is reportedly $75m, and Garland is set to write all three. After making a name for himself as a novelist and screenwriter, Garland, who wrote The Beach, stepped behind the camera as director of films Ex_Machina, Annihilation and, most recently, Men. He also created the TV show Devs.

Cillian Murphy in ’28 Days Later’ (Warner Bros Pictures)
Cillian Murphy in ’28 Days Later’ (Warner Bros Pictures)

His next film is Civil War, which follows a team of journalists who travel across the US during “a rapidly escalating civil war that has engulfed the entire nation”. It stars Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Priscilla star Cailee Spaeny, and will be released in April 2024.