I see the “z” in Humanz as referring to robots, AI, programming, brainwashing, indoctrination. And it’s a question to us: are we human or are we humanz? Have we lost the ability to think for ourselves, do we just believe what we’re told? That’s how I see it. And the reason the characters appear on the album cover as a real-life version of themselves is because I’m wondering: are these characters becoming more human than us?
New interview in Sunday’s The Observer. Highlights:
On doing press: “Having just turned 40 I hope I’ve achieved some sort of wisdom or patience,” he says in his soft, evenly paced brogue. As a younger man he disliked watching himself on screen; he struggled with press duties and avoided TV chat shows until a few years ago. “I was very uncomfortable with this,” he continues with a gesture at my tape recorder and notepad. “The reductive nature nowadays of most journalism is very frustrating.” One newspaper report on the most recent series of Peaky Blinders focused on the baring of his bottom. “It is getting absurd with the dumbing down, the level of questions you get asked.”
On moving to Dublin and getting a puppy: Murphy moved away, making his home in London with his wife and children Malachy and Aran, now 11 and nine. After 14 years in the British capital, however, they have just relocated to Dublin… “You want to be with your parents as they get older and you want your children to be aware of their culture… Irish people are brilliant and you have to go away and come back to realise it.” Did his boys rebel when they were told they’d be leaving their schoolfriends behind? “We promised them a dog so that was just fine.” A black Labrador arrived, though, he says, “I am the only one that walks it, of course.”
On Dunkirk: Though Nolan’s films are usually shrouded in secrecy, as Murphy points out: “Everybody knows what happened at Dunkirk, so it can’t deviate too much from the facts. It is not like Inception or Interstellar, there’s no major reveal.” He describes Nolan as an old-fashioned filmmaker. “And while all of his films have big budgets and involve a lot of setet pieces, they always feel like a little independent film for the actor because you only ever have one camera and Chris watches on a tiny little monitor. He is right there beside you.”
On Peaky Blinders: The show will run for two more seasons. “It is some of the best writing I have come across,” he says, “and I never expected to revisit a character like that over and over. It will be about 30 hours of television when we have finished and to shine a light into all these weird parts of the character’s psyche that you would never ever get in the compressed version of a feature film or even a play, that is an extraordinary gift. I am very lucky that it came along. I have always just been about the work.”
On his interests outside acting: “I have not been interested in anything else,” he says. “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.” He smiles. “I don’t want to change the world.”
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. 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.’ — Cillian Murphy interviewed in The Observer
Cillian Murphy chased down director Neil Jordan in the hope he’d get cast as Kitten in Breakfast on Pluto.
His performance as a transgender foundling searching for love emerged
as one of his standout moments. “I knew Neil was making that film and
that I was the right age. People respond to direct contact
from other artists and other filmmakers. I think people don’t do it