HomeEntertainment NewsCillian Murphy's Batman Screen Test Immediately Landed Him The Part Of Scarecrow

Cillian Murphy’s Batman Screen Test Immediately Landed Him The Part Of Scarecrow

As Cillian Murphy recalled to Christopher Nolan (per EW), “It was clear to me from the beginning that I wasn’t Batman material.” But the experience of working with Nolan on those screen tests gave Murphy a “buzz,” both from playing Batman and forging the beginning stages of a creative partnership with the director. As Nolan said, they knew from their first conversation that Murphy likely wouldn’t be Batman, but that was irrelevant — they still found common creative cause with each other. And Nolan knew Murphy could be a unique and memorable villain for his unique take on Batman.

With a relative unknown playing the superhero, it made sense to give him a marquee name antagonist. From Jack Nicholson (as the Joker in 1989’s “Batman”) onward, the “Batman” film series had cast massive movie stars as its villains, often significantly bigger than the actors playing the hero. Murphy, while clearly a talent, wasn’t that, so Nolan shrewdly used the big screen test with Murphy as a means of convincing Warner Bros. executives that the actor had the chops to play the movie’s villain.

“There was no dissent,” Nolan remembered after asking executives about casting Murphy. With a brilliant showing at the screen test, Murphy’s lack of fame at the time proved irrelevant. He and Nolan immediately got to work on the character, with Murphy telling Empire at the time that he and Nolan collaborated on a realistic and creepy design for the Scarecrow, one where he would be draped in a burlap sack.

And while the director never meant for “Batman Begins” to kick off a trilogy, Murphy’s returning presence as the Scarecrow in both sequels gives the series a strong sense of continuity (one reflective of the fondness between the director and the actor).



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