Oppenheimer vs Barbie: Cillian Murphy finally weighs in

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
barbie and oppenheimer stillsUniversal Pictures/Warner Bros.

Barbie and Oppenheimer – or Barbenheimer, as the internet calls them – have become a major point of discussion on the internet, and Cillian Murphy has finally said something about it.

Barbie, the upcoming film by Greta Gerwig, is looking to be one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. But it’s not the only one, as the newest Christopher Nolan cinematic experience, Oppenheimer, is set to drop on the exact same day.

While the two films appear tonally very different – one being about a doll’s existential crisis and the other a historical feature about World War II’s nuclear Manhattan Project – their joint release date has become an internet sensation, coined “Barbenheimer.”

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Some have embraced the two films as a double feature, and others see it as a feud in the making. But what do the stars of said movies think of this turn of events? Well, Cillian Murphy, star of Oppenheimer, has weighed in with his thoughts.

When it comes to Barbenheimer, Cillian Murphy wants love, not war

When it comes to two major blockbusters dropping on the same day – Nolan’s even done this before, with The Dark Knight premiering the same day as Mamma Mia back in 2008 – there’s not been quite a moment like Barbenheimer. Of course, the first bouts of the Barbenheimer bonanza came from the internet, with hundreds of jokes and memes spawning from Twitter and other social media sites.

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After Tom Cruise, star of fellow summer blockbuster Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1, shared photos of himself after booking tickets to see both Barbie and Oppenheimer, Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie also posted their tickets for Oppenheimer.

These exchanges of course sparked interest in whether or not the Oppenheimer players would join in on the fun, with internet jokes taking storm once again.

But while Cillian Murphy, star of Oppenheimer, is known for withdrawing from the spotlight and public attention, in an interview with La Vaguardia, the actor finally let his feelings about Barbie be known:

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“I can’t wait to see Barbie. I love Margot Robbie, I love Ryan Gosling, I want to see them now!” he thankfully stated.

Though he did go on to admit that he didn’t understand the whole Barbenheimer debate: “I don’t know what the debate is about, the political turra, although it’s not that I have an overwhelming opinion about it either. My advice would be for people to go see both, on the same day. If they are good films, that is what the cinema wins.” 

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Murphy loves movies, but not the business

Murphy of course went on to praise Oppenheimer too, explaining: “What makes Chris [Nolan] such a good writer is that this movie is going to raise a lot of questions from the audience, it’s going to make them think about history and what’s going on in the world today. Or so I hope.” 

He also explained why he hadn’t been such a key player in the whole Barbenheimer press, stating his lack of joy in film press as a whole: “Man, if I could, I would make my films and then I would go home, but I understand that this is a business, that you have to talk to journalists and make your work known.

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“[Privacy] is what suits me. One has to be true to oneself, otherwise one is an impostor. And I want to be as honest as I can. The less people know about you, the more willing they are to believe you on screen. I’m still being selfish, but I think I can be a much better actor that way.”    

Barbie and Oppenheimer will both premiere cinemas on July 21, 2023. For more information on the movies, click here and here.

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About The Author

Lucy-Jo is a Movies and TV Writer at Dexerto, and has previously written for Screen Rant and Girls on Tops. After earning a Master's Degree in Film and Literature, Lucy-Jo now loves covering films, TV shows, and anime, especially if it's something by Mike Flanagan, or anything drenched in camp. You can contact her at lucyjo.finnighan@dexerto.com