believe it or not, Oppenheimer It will not be the first time Cillian Murphy played the role of a physicist named Robert who is responsible for an explosion that will change the course of human history. In 2007, he played physicist Robert Capa in Danny Boyle‘s SunlightA sci-fi thriller set on a spaceship in the year 2057. The sun is dying, and the film follows a crew of eight tasked with sending a massive “star bomb” to the sun to take over it in humanity’s last hope of preserving life on Earth. . while the ship, Icarus II, turned towards a falling star but still dying, of course, things start to go wrong, due to human error, partly human evil, and partly terrifying nature.
The premise might sound a little silly — like 2003 in reverse main — But actually it is quite thanks to the writer Alex GarlandDedication to scientific reality. He and Boyle brought in physicist Brian Cox to discuss the film and help anchor it in real scientific theory. There’s also a bit of hand-waving – for example, it’s never explained that the interior of the ship has Earth-like gravity, one of the most complex problems facing long-duration space missions. But the movie It feels real enough that it’s easy to overlook such omissions. The film is also surprisingly absorbing, carried out by Danny Boyle’s slowly building tension, coupled with strong performances from a stacked cast that includes Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Mark StrongAnd Benedict Wong. The sun itself is also very much a character, its power and proximity having a profound but different effect on each crew member.
The production of Sunshine is not your typical movie
Boyle put the actors through the wringer to achieve those perfect performances: during the six weeks before filming, they watched movies together, including classics like Das Boot, The right thingAnd Aliens; go to science lectures; Tour a nuclear submarine to get a feel for the claustrophobia of spaceships; go scuba diving; Experience weightlessness in the center’s gravity simulator — Boyle himself rode on the famous comet — and even co-exist in a minimalist university dorm. a Hiroyuki SanadaWho is Captain Kaneda, told SciFiNow in 2019, “We have a small room, no TV, no refrigerator but a shared kitchen and every night we have to cook for everyone.” That experience is recreated in an early scene in the film. , when Engineer Mace (Evans) complains about Navigator Trey’s (Wong) cooking, to which Trey replies, “If you don’t like it, you’ll change me next time.” Boyle also insists on using physical effects to stand in. Computer effects will be added later, so the actor has something real to respond to.
Brian Cox helps Cillian Murphy recognize Robert Capa
Although the cast is a group, Capa is our main character. His voice provides the revelation, and he’s the only character we see recording a video message to send home. Murphy spent extra time with Dr. Cox, even shadowing him while he worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva – home of the Large Hadron Collider – and sitting in on meetings. According to Cox, Murphy picked up mannerisms and speech patterns from the physicists around him, which featured in some of his improvised conversations. In fact, the experience had such a profound effect on Murphy that it turned him from an agnostic to an atheist. “Not only because I spent time with these people,” he said in 2007. “They just confirmed what I always suspected.”
Cox, who worked as a professional musician for the bands Dare and D:Ream while earning his Ph.D. in particle physics, often wears a band t-shirt under his shirt and doesn’t look like a typical physicist. The similarities between Capa and Cox are unmistakable, from their shaggy hairdos to their youthful exuberance. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cox later praised Murphy’s performance as “fantastic.”
Capa’s demeanor — usually calm and grounded, but punctuated by moments of both dry humor and intense horror as everything goes to hell around him — is reminiscent of Murphy’s performance in another Boyle-Garland collaboration, 28 days later. While the entire crew understands the enormity and importance of their mission, only Capa truly grasps the power of the Manhattan-sized bomb (an apt comparison) they’re wielding, as well as the sheer insanity of their plan to release it into the sun. Flee for their lives, protected only by the massive but far from indestructible gold leaf shield that stood between Icarus II and instant incineration. The weight of this knowledge rests on Murphy’s character, who controls his emotions outwardly, but perhaps only barely.
‘Sunshine’ is finally getting the appreciation it deserves
Despite overwhelmingly positive reviews, Sunlight flopped at the box office, failing to recoup its $40 million budget, outsold by fancier franchise fare such as Spider-Man 3, Transformer, Pirates The Caribbean: The End of the WorldAnd Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Some speculated that the summer airing – which forced it to compete with the aforementioned blockbusters – was a mistake, especially in the UK film base, where winter is a popular season for theatrical releases. Others believe that the film is too intellectual, and is a very high-concept sci-fi. 2001: A Space Odyssey Only there are not many viewers in the late 2000s. Today, although it has not yet followed a cult, the film is very appreciated as many fans of the genre discovered it and fell in love with its cast, clever writing, and beautiful, nervous tension.
Although Oppenheimer Being set in the past rather than the future and anchored in the world, Murphy’s performance in it more than likely benefited from his time working. Sunlight and learning from today’s greatest physicists. As Danny Boyle knows, even a basic understanding of the subject can help actors add a level of nuance to their performance that would not be possible if they went into the role completely ignorant. I, for one, can’t wait to see how Murphy brings that insight to his portrayal of The Father of the Atomic Bomb. Oppenheimerwhich will be released in theaters on Friday, July 21.