- Christopher Nolan had Cillian Murphy audition for Batman, even though he knew Christian Bale would get the part.
- Nolan said that he had studio executives watch Murphy’s screen test to convince them to make him Scarecrow.
- “There was no dissent,” Nolan recalled the response after everyone watched the audition.
Christopher Nolan had an unconventional way of casting Cillian Murphy in his “The Dark Knight” trilogy.
In a recent interview with entertainment weeklythe director and actor recalled how Murphy ended up playing Scarecrow in 2005’s “Batman Begins.”
Turns out Nolan first had Murphy audition as bat Man.
“It was clear to me from the beginning that I wasn’t Batman material,” Murphy told EW. “I thought it was right and proper that it was Christian Bale for that role.”
“But I remember the buzz of trying on the suit and being directed by you,” Murphy told Nolan, who was also part of the interview. “Those tests were high production values.”
“When we had our first conversation, I think we both knew you weren’t going to end up playing Batman,” Nolan added. “But I really wanted to be with you on set, I wanted to film you.”
Murphy had been a fan of Nolan’s previous works like “Memento” and “Insomnia,” which led him to get a screen test for “Batman Begins.”
“We did these very elaborate screen tests, on 35mm, with a small set,” Nolan recalled. “There was an electric atmosphere in the crew when you started acting. We did two scenes, there was a Bruce Wayne scene and a Batman scene, and I made sure the executives came and watched what you were doing on set. Everyone was so excited to see you perform.”
But that’s when Nolan got Warner Bros. execs to think of Murphy beyond the role of Batman.
“So I said to them, ‘Okay, Christian Bale is Batman, but what about Cillian to play Scarecrow?’ there was no dissent,” she said.
“All the previous Batman villains had been played by big movie stars: Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, that kind of thing,” he continued. “That was a big leap for them and it really was purely based on that test. That’s how you came to play Scarecrow.”
Murphy joked that his character Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow, was the “villain who never died,” since after Batman defeated him in “Batman Begins,” Crane returned to make cameo appearances in 2008’s “The Dark Knight.” and 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“My favorite Scarecrow appearance in the trilogy is definitely the kangaroo court scene. [in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’] where it’s on top of that huge stack of desks,” Nolan said. “I think, in a world of anarchy, the last The judge you’d want to go up against would be Jonathan Crane.”
Murphy and Nolan will team up again for the July release of Nolan’s anticipated “Oppenheimer” where Murphy will play the father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer.