Cillian Murphy’s “Oppenheimer” press tour is now in its final stages as the actor does his final weeks of campaigning in the lead up to the Oscars, where he’s nominated for best actor thanks to his leading turn in Christopher Nolan’s atom bomb epic. If it were up to Murphy, there might not have been a press tour to begin with. In a new GQ cover story, the actor admits that press tours (complete with red-carpet interviews and junkets) are not a great model and he’d much prefer to let the movies do the heavy promotional lifting.
“I think it’s a broken model,” he said of Hollywood’s press tour system, admitting that he was somewhat relieved when the SAG-AFTRA strike began just head of “Oppenheimer’s” opening weekend as it meant no more press opportunities for a certain amount of time. “The model is — everybody is so bored.”
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Even with its actors prevented from doing press, Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” still turned into a box office powerhouse along with its release date partner “Barbie.” Nolan’s film has earned more than $955 million at the worldwide box office, making it the highest-grossing biographical drama in film history.
“Same was the case with ‘Peaky Blinders,'” Murphy pointed out. “The first three seasons there was no advertising, a tiny show on BBC Two; it just caught fire because people talked to each other about it.”
“It’s like Joanne Woodward said,” he added. “‘Acting is like sex—do it, don’t talk about it’ … People always used to say to me, ‘He has reservations’ or ‘He’s a difficult interviewee.’ Not really! I love talking about work, about art. What I struggle with, and find unnecessary, and unhelpful about what I want to do, is: ‘Tell me about yourself…’”
Going through both his personal and professional life, Murphy told GQ that “many of my films I haven’t seen. I know that Johnny Depp would always say that, but it’s actually true. Generally the ones I haven’t seen are the ones I hear are not good.”
One movie he did see in his career that he didn’t particularly love was “Red Eye,” Wes Craven’s 2005 psychological thriller about a hotel manager (Rachel McAdams) who ends up sitting next to a terrorist on a plane and becomes entangled in his assassination plot.
“Oh, I know, it’s crazy!” Murphy said of the enduring love “Red Eye” continues to have. “I think it’s the duality of it. It’s why I wanted to play it. That two thing. The nice guy and the bad guy in one. The only reason it appealed to me is you could do that…that turn, you know?”
Murphy added, “I love Rachel McAdams and we had fun making it. But I don’t think it’s a good movie. It’s a good B movie.”
“They say the nicest people sometimes make the best villains,” Rachel McAdams told GQ about her co-star. “We’d listen to music and gab away while doing the crossword puzzle, which he brought every day and would graciously let me chime in on.… I think the number one question I got about Cillian way back then was whether or not he wore contact lenses.”
Murphy previously knocked “Red Eye” during a 2021 interview with Uproxx in which he said: “When I was a younger actor, I was really, really hard on everything that I was in. I hated watching myself. I hated looking at myself on screen. I remember when I saw it was like ‘Oh, that’s kind of a schlocky B movie.’ Rachel McAdams is excellent in it. But I didn’t think I gave a very nuanced performance in it. But, listen, if people love the movie then that’s great. I’m pleased with that. I’m less hard on myself now when I look at stuff. I’m less hypercritical of my work. But that’s probably a hangover from that to be honest.”
Head over to GQ’s website to read Murphy’s latest cover story in its entirety.
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