Matt Damon Calls Cillian Murphy’s ‘Oppenheimer’ Performance a ‘Marathon’

Cillian Murphy knew transforming into the “father of the atomic bomb” J. Robert Oppenheimer wouldn’t be a sprint, but rather an epic marathon.

Murphy leads Christopher Nolan’s WWII period piece epic alongside Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., and Matt Damon, who recently praised Murphy’s dedication to the weighty role.

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“When you are at the center of a movie at that scale, shooting seven scenes in a day, it takes a different focus and concern and commitment,” Damon said of Murphy to The New York Times. “It’s beautiful to watch someone give themselves to it fully.”

Damon, who plays U.S. Army lieutenant general Leslie Groves, called the role of Oppenheimer a “marathon” for Murphy.

In the Times interview, Murphy also spoke about what physically went into his performance. “I love acting with my body, and Oppenheimer had a very distinct physicality and silhouette, which I wanted to get right. I had to lose quite a bit of weight, and we worked with the costume and tailoring; he was very slim, almost emaciated, existed on martinis and cigarettes.” He added, “He had these really bright eyes and I wanted to give him this wide-eyed look, so we worked on his silhouette and expressions a lot before starting.”

“Air” actor Damon recently revealed he was oblivious to the “Oppenheimer” release date competing with Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” both in theaters July 21. “This is the first I’m hearing about it, actually. I haven’t paid any attention to that,” Damon said about the viral trend of asking who will buy a ticket for which movie opening night. “People are allowed to go see two movies in a weekend. ‘Oppenheimer’ is one of them!”

“Oppenheimer” lead star Murphy revealed earlier this year that he had been waiting to lead a Nolan film after collaborating with the director on a slew of features including the “Dark Knight” trilogy.

“I have always said publicly and privately, to Chris, that if I’m available and you want me to be in a movie, I’m there,” Murphy said. “I don’t really care about the size of the part. But deep down, secretly, I was desperate to play a lead for him.”

He added, “You realize this is a huge responsibility. [J. Robert Oppenheimer] was complicated and contradictory and so iconic. But you know you’re with one of the great directors of all time. I felt confident going into it with Chris. He’s had a profound impact on my life, creatively and professionally. He’s offered me very interesting roles over and I’ve found all of them really challenging. And I just love being on his sets.”

For all the details on “Oppenheimer,” click here.

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