Cillian Murphy: “You have to learn your craft, learn your trade – and also you have to live a life and experience things”

Actor Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy has been an in-demand actor ever since his breakthrough role in 2002’s 28 Days Later… Yet if you ask BAFTA-nominated actor if he’s an actor, he’ll actually tell you he’s a decade removed from possibly being able to say “Yes” to that question.

In an interview with The Guardian, Murphy admits that despite his long list of credits he does not yet feel like an actor because of something a director once said to him. He recalls, “A director, I forget who, told me that it takes 30 years to make an actor. And I believe that. You have to learn your craft, learn your trade – and also you have to live a life and experience things. I have been doing this for 20 years now so, hopefully, in another 10 years I will be an actor.”

In fact, Murphy credits much of his success so far to simply being persistent. He explains, “Honestly, if you stick around long enough, don’t make an idiot of yourself and aspire to make good work, people go: ‘All right. He is here to stay.'”

Part of that persistence results from Murphy being solely dedicated to acting ever since his breakthrough. He points out, “I have not been interested in anything else. I know I am old-fashioned, but I don’t want to bring out a fashion line, I don’t want to bring out an album. I just want to do the work as best as I can and if that effects change for somebody, then that is great. I don’t want to change the world.”

While many would likely say that Murphy is selling himself a bit short here, as long as directors such as Christopher Nolan cast Murphy in strong roles he can think of himself however he wants — everyone else will think of him as an actor.

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