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Sunshine - Cillian Murphy interview

Cillian Murphy in Sunshine

Interview by Rob Carnevale

CILLIAN Murphy talks about working with Danny Boyle again on sci-fi thriller Sunshine and some of the challenges he faced in bringing the vision to the screen.

Q. What appealed to you most? The script or being part of an ensemble like this?
Cillian Murphy: I think it was a combination. I love those classic sci-fi movies that everyone calls masterpieces, which they are, like 2001, Solaris and Alien. I thought it was such a brilliant script in that tradition. It also wasn’t a character I’ve played before and the idea of working with Danny again was very appealing.

Q. The film looks amazing. How was dealing with the special effects?
Cillian Murphy: I’ve never done a film that’s this effects heavy. But the performance is always the primary thing and the most important thing. There was never a case of any of us having to act to a dot or anything like that.

When we were supposed to be looking at the sun all the research we’d done and all the emersion into that world really helped in trying to imagine it. So it never felt like the special effects distracted the performance. But it was incredible to sit down and see the finished film and to see this sun as a character in the film. It really took my breath away.

Q. Has the experience of doing a big studio film like Batman Begins stood you in good stead for something like this?
Cillian Murphy: Yeah but I was only on the Batman movie for a total of two weeks and they shot for something like a year! But Chris Nolan is like Danny; it doesn’t feel like it’s an enormous film. It feels very much about the performance. The actor feels very safe and very protected.

This was different, however, because it was four months and it was very intense. You were on pretty much every day and the technical aspect of it was hard for a lot of us. There was so much stuff that hadn’t been done before so that meant a lot of sitting around… but when you came on you had to be totally energised and adrenalised. That’s hard to do when you’ve been sitting in your room for two hours!

Q. How claustrophobic were the spacesuits?
Cillian Murphy: They were quite a challenge. They look beautiful but when you were inside them they were really hard to move in and very, very hot. We shot during August and September last year, so it was still very hot anyway. But to be honest, a lot of that stuff is stuntmen and stuntwomen. Most of the stuff you see me in is a thing called a helmet cam, which is the helment with a camera mounted inside of this big rig. We climbed into that and it was a beast of a thing. It was great, though, because it took a lot of effort to move in it and all the exertion and sweat that you see is real.

Again, we did a bit of research and to move a very small distance in a spacesuit requires a huge amount of effort. They always have to hair air and water going through it, so it was meant to be really hard to move in and it was!

Q. What would you do if the Sun was going to die?
Cillian Murphy: I’d use all my valuable research on the film and come up with an equation to fix the sun! [Laughs]

Read our review of Sunshine

Read our interview with Chris Evans