Cillian Murphy: I could never put myself in the same category of those guys and that bravery and courage. I try to get through the day by being a reasonably nice and good person.
Slant Magazine: Josef suffers from survivor’s guilt. He feels responsible for risking—and losing—the lives of those he’s encountered in his operation to assassinate Heydrich. Can you speak to that aspect of his character?
Cillian Murphy: It’s very kind of harrowing to figure out how to play it, and what is patriotism, and heroism, and real true courage. I don’t know. It never comes easy. There’s a high price to pay, and these guys didn’t have the benefit of history or hindsight or how it would be viewed. Josef’s way was to be as emotionally closed as possible, but he meets this girl [Anna Geislerová‘s Lenka] and they become romantically involved. His friendship with Jan is deep, but he tries to keep it closed because he can possibly die.
Slant Magazine: How did you and Jamie develop the bond between your characters?
Cillian Murphy: When you make a film that’s a two-hander, you try to create chemistry. It’s a weird alchemy. We got lucky. We hadn’t worked together before. We had similar sense of humor and the same approach to work. We’ve stayed friends. We spent time together to the degree we developed a level of trust. We each have big emotional breakdowns in the film, and you have to trust the other actor in order go there.
Slant Magazine: What can you say about the climactic shootout, and being waist-deep in water? Those scenes must have been hell to film.
Cillian Murphy: It’s rare enough to shoot a film in vaguely chronological order, but we endeavored to do that. I was in a tank in Prague. Jamie had finished shooting by then. I’m very proud of the film, but the second half is where it got wrenching.
Slant Magazine: How so?
Cillian Murphy: The psychological and emotional weight is the hardest part of it. You knew these men actually lived and they died in this way. The inevitability of what was happening, and trying to process and rationalize it is difficult. You try to portray it convincingly.
Read full interview HERE