Cillian Murphy didn’t pursue music career because he didn’t think he was “good enough”

Cillian Murphy has said he didn’t pursue a music career because he didn’t think he was “good enough”.

Speaking exclusively to NME, the Oppenheimer star opened up about his love for Frank Zappa and The Beatles.

Inspired by John, Paul, George and Ringo, Murphy and his brother, Páidi, even formed their own band: The Sons of Mr Green Genes, named after a Zappa tune from his 1969 album ‘Hot Rats’.


Their songs were similarly experimental, filled with “wacky lyrics and endless guitar solos”. Eventually, they were offered a five-album deal by London-based Acid Jazz, but he is and brother turned it down, citing reasons of artistic independence.

Murphy has often been disparaging about his songs to journalists. When asked about his 2002 short film Watchmen — his only attempt at a screenplay, which he co-wrote with BAFTA-winner Paloma Baeza — he was similarly self-deprecating.

“I just never thought that I was good enough really,” he said. “It’s why I haven’t, you know, pursued the music either. I like to do one thing quite well.” The actor added that it’s unlikely this will change in the future.

Cillian Murphy
CREDIT: Marco Grob

Elsewhere in the interview, Murphy admitted that he didn’t socialise much while filming Oppenheimer, due to the intense demands of his role.

“I didn’t go out much. I didn’t socialise much, mainly because of the amount of work I had to do… I became so immersed in the role.”


The actor also explained how Nolan helped him to “unlock” the character with an “amazing phrase”.

“Chris used this amazing phrase. We were talking about Oppenheimer’s arc and he said, ‘You know, he’s dancing between the raindrops morally.’ That unlocked something in my mind when I was preparing,” he recalled.

Murphy further explained of Oppenheimer: “I do think that he believed it would be the weapon to end all wars. He thought that [having the bomb] would motivate countries to form a sort of nuclear world governance. He was naive.”

In a five-star review of the film, NME wrote: “Not just the definitive account of the man behind the atom bomb, Oppenheimer is a monumental achievement in grown-up filmmaking.

“For years, Nolan has been perfecting the art of the serious blockbuster – crafting smart, finely-tuned multiplex epics that demand attention; that can’t be watched anywhere other than in a cinema, uninterrupted, without distractions. But this, somehow, feels bigger.”