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Cillian Murphy nearly played Oppenheimer in a 2014 TV series

The Irish actor portrays “the father of the atomic bomb” in Christopher Nolan's new film

By Charlotte Krol

Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy will portray J.Robert Oppenheimer (Picture: Alamy)

Cillian Murphy was considered for a role as J. Robert Oppenheimer in a 2014 TV series called Manhattan.

Murphy, who portrays “the father of the atomic bomb” in Christopher Nolan‘s film Oppenheimer, was part of a broad list of actors sought for the role that included The Bear‘s Ebon Moss-Barach and singer-songwriter Beck.

Manhattan showrunner Sam Shaw and writer Lila Byock have revealed in a new interview that Murphy was being considered. “A thousand percent, Cillian Murphy was on that list,” Shaw told Vanity Fair this month.

The two-season series ended up having Daniel London playing a reoccurring role as Oppenheimer.

Despite not starring in Manhattan, Murphy was instead a dead cert for the blockbuster film that was released earlier this month.

Cillian Murphy poses for Montblanc (Picture: Press)

He said of filmmaker Nolan and his casting in a recent interview with the Associated Press: “[Nolan is] so understated and self-deprecating and, in his very English manner, just said, ‘Listen, I’ve written this script, it’s about Oppenheimer. I’d like you to be my Oppenheimer.’ It was a great day.”

Murphy continued: “We have this long-standing understanding and trust and shorthand and respect. It felt like the right time to take on a bigger responsibility. And it just so happened that it was a huge one.”

Nolan, meanwhile, has warned of the “terrifying possibility” of artificial intelligence, saying that the technology is reaching its “Oppenheimer moment”.

Revisit Rolling Stone UK’s cover interview with Murphy and check out our review of Oppenheimer here.