Christopher Nolan’s Casting Decision: Sometimes, it feels so astonishing to know how things are connected and how everything happens for a reason. If you are a film junkie, you must be well aware of the legendary filmmaker Christopher Nolan and his incredible directorial journey so far. He is known for his keen eye for detailing, be it opting for the right theme or picking the best actors for his films. Throughout his filmmaking career, he has delivered some monumental movies that left an indelible mark on cinematic history.
Apart from a great plotline and direction, one thing common in most of Nolan’s films is the appearance of Cillian Murphy. The first time the duo collaborated on a film was back in 2005 when Murphy appeared as Jonathan Crane, a.k.a Scarecrow, in Nolan’s first installment of the Batman trilogy, “Batman Begins.” Ever since then, the two have collaborated on six films so far, implying that Murphy has appeared in half of the films Nolan directed.
One of their best collaboration to date is undoubtedly the 2023 film “Oppenheimer,” as it is the frontrunner for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars with a staggering 13 nominations. Alongside its great direction and screenplay, the film also has an ensemble cast including Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, and others. Each actor gave their best performance in the film, with Murphy and Downey being strong candidates for Best Actor and Supporting Actor. But can you imagine this masterpiece being made without these two incredible actors? This could have been the scenario if Nolan made a wrong casting choice two decades ago.
“Batman Begins” was the first film on which Murphy and Nolan collaborated. In the film, Murphy played the role of Scarecrow. However he originally auditioned for the role of Batman, but he couldn’t get it. Interestingly, there was one more candidate for the role of Scarecrow. In a Q&A session, Robert Downey Jr. revealed that he met Nolan to play Scarecrow in the “Batman Begins” but the role landed to Murphy.
Since Murphy was already rejected for the part of Batman, and in case the role of Scarecrow would have gone to Downey Jr, it would have meant that Murphy wouldn’t have got the chance to appear in the film at all. And since the 2005 film not only marked Nolan and Murphy’s first collaboration but it was also the beginning of their strong connection. After starring in “Batman Begins,” Murphy became the go-to actor for Nolan and was cast in various films, one of them being “Oppenheimer.” So it can be said that if Murphy and Nolan hadn’t bonded on “Batman Begins,” Murphy would have lost the chance to play the titular role in “Oppenheimer.”
Moreover, if Downey had received the role in Batman film, the entire trajectory of cinematic history would have been different today. It wouldn’t have only affected the “Oppenheimer” casting but Downey would have been a part of DC Universe rather than a veteran of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since RDJ didn’t get the role in the Batman trilogy, he moved to the MCU, where he made his debut as Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, in the 2008 film “Iron Man. Reflecting 20 years ago, if all RDJ got to play the role of Scarecrow, fans would have missed out on witnessing him as Iron Man.
So, in the end, everything happened for the better, as Murphy gave his best performance as Scarecrow, which eventually landed him the role of Oppenheimer, and we got our beloved Iron Man.