For Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy, It Was Love at First Sight

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

Christopher Nolan knew he wanted to work with Cillian Murphy the moment he laid eyes on him. Nolan told Murphy (and Entertainment Weekly) that he first saw Murphy in press coverage of 28 Days Later in San Francisco. “I saw a picture of you with your shaved head and your crazy eyes  no offense. I remember being struck by your presence, literally from that one photograph,” he said, “and then started to look into who you were, and what you’d done, and got very excited about the idea of meeting you.”

The pair met under the pretense of having Murphy audition for Batman in Batman Begins, even though both knew Murphy wasn’t quite right for the part. “It was clear to me from the beginning that I wasn’t Batman material,” Murphy said. “It felt to me that it was correct and right that it should be Christian Bale for that part.” But Nolan used the Batman screen test to convince the studio to let Murphy play the Scarecrow. “All the previous Batman villains had been played by huge movie stars: Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, that kind of thing,” Nolan said. “That was a big leap for them and it really was purely on the basis of that test. So that’s how you got to play Scarecrow.”

Christopher Nolan Loves Cillian Murphy’s ‘Crazy Eyes’