"You're an actor who's Irish, not an Irish actor. And you shouldn't be limited
by your extraction." Cillian Murphy
Irish native actor Cillian Murphy initially received recognition for his
portrayal of suicidal psychiatric patient Jonathan Breech in On The Edge (2001).
Murphy scored more attention when he reprised his stage role of Pig in the
feature film Disco Pigs (2001). Due to his performance, Murphy was honored with
a nomination for Best Actor in a Feature Film by the Irish Film & Television
Academy. In 2002, the growing actor gained worldwide fame after portraying Jim
in Boyle's zombie thriller 28 Days Later (2002). Murphy is also noted for his
roles in the more current films Girl With A Pearl Earring (2003), Batman Begins
(2005), and Breakfast on Pluto (2005).
On stage, Murphy, who speaks Irish and French, attracted attention when he
starred as Pig in Corcadorca's 1996 production of Enda Walsh's Disco Pigs, for
which he received rave reviews for his stage performance. He was also seen in
three more recent stage productions: The Shape of Things (2002), The Seagull
(2003) and The Playboy of the Western World (2004).
Off screen, 5' 9" tall Murphy became the husband of his long-term girlfriend
Yvonne in August 2004.
Childhood and Family:
Son of a school inspector father and a French teacher mother, Cillian Murphy was
born on May 25, 1976, in Douglas, Cork, Ireland. The oldest of four, Cillian has
three younger siblings: sisters Sile and Orla, and brother Páidi.
Attending Presentation Brothers College in Cork City, Cillian, who was a
passionate rugby player, intended to pursue a career in law. However, guided by
his musical talent, Cillian tried his hand at acting. After performing in the
UCC Drama Society production of Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards The
Somme, he quickly signed up with Concordia's Pat Tiernan. Cillian began to make
a name for himself when he was cast as the turbulent emotional Pig in
Concordia's 1996 production of Enda Walsh's original play Disco Pigs, for which
he received rave reviews. After touring with the production to places like
London and Edinburgh, Cillian decided to leave his studies to pursue acting.
As for his private life, the blue-eyed, brown-haired actor married his long-term
girlfriend Yvonne in August 2004. The couple currently lives in North London,
England. Cillian, who plays guitar with a style influenced by legend Frank
Zappa, is a member of the band Sons of Mr. Greengenes. Cillian is skilful in
singing as well as playing guitar and drums.
First acting in a school play titled Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards
The Somme, Cillian Murphy subsequently landed the starring role of Pig in
Corcadorca's 1996 production of Enda Walsh's Disco Pigs. His brilliant
performance in the award-winning stage production brought him rave reviews and
helped to jump-start his career.
Murphy made his feature film debut in Quando (1997, playing Pat) and played the
character of Pat the Barman in The Tale of Sweety Barrett (1998). In 1999,
Murphy, who initially began acting as a hobby and a way to kill time on the
weekends, went on to receive roles in the wide screen movies Eviction (1999, as
Brendan McBride), At Death's Door (1999) and the comedy-drama Sunburn (1999,
portrayed Davin McDerby). He also played a prominent character in William Boyd's
war drama The Trench (1999, as Rag Rockwood).
After having a bit role in Filleann an Feall (2000), Murphy played suicidal
psychiatric teenager Jonathan Breech in John Carney's On The Edge (2001, also
starring Tricia Vessey, Jonathan Jackson and Stephen Rea). He next played Gus in
the drama How Harry Became a Tree (2001).
That same year, the soft-spoken, fair-skinned actor reprised his stage role of
Pig in director Kirsten Sheridan's film Disco Pigs. Murphy's brilliant
performance gained notice and received a nomination for Best Actor in a Feature
Film by the Irish Film & Television Academy. He then made his television debut
by starring as Paul Montague in the BBC mini-series The Way We Live Now (2001).
Murphy experienced a major breakthrough when he was cast as Jim in the
horrifying thriller 28 Days Later (2002, helmed by Danny Boyle, also starring
Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson and Megan Burns). His performance as a man
awakening from a coma to find the world has been infested with a terrifying
virus earned Murphy worldwide fame.
In 2003, the rising actor kept busy working on such silver screen projects as
John Carney's Zonad (portrayed Guy Hendrickson), John Crowley's Intermission
(played John), Peter Webber's Girl With A Pearl Earring (as Pieter, starring
Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth) and Cold Mountain (played Bardolph).
Though Murphy earned success on the wide screen, he continued to work onstage.
In 2002, he performed at Dublin's Gate Theatre with the production The Shape of
Things. The following year, Murphy appeared as Konstantine in Chekov's The
Seagull at the International Theatre Festival in Edinburgh. He was also seen on
the stage starring as Christy in Ireland's Druid Theatre's production of The
Playboy of the Western World (2004).
Originally auditioning for the role of Batman (the role was eventually given to
Christian Bale), director Christopher Nolan cast him as villain Jonathan
Crane/Scarecrow in Batman Begins (2005). Murphy next starred in Wes Craven's
thriller Red-Eye (2005, also starring Rachel McAdams and Brian Cox). Murphy then
teamed with Crying Game director Neil Jordan in Breakfast on Pluto (2005,
alongside Liam Neeson and Stephen Rea). In the film, Murphy plays a protagonist
character named Patrick "Kitten" Brady.
Murphy will soon be seen in the upcoming war drama The Wind That Shakes the
Barley (2006, also starring Liam Cunningham, directed by Ken Loach). He is also
scheduled to play a role in Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2006, opposite Chris Evans
and Michelle Yeoh), a sci-fi film about an astronaut group assigned the task of
finding a space crew that has vanished.