Irish actor Cillian Murphy’s name certainly rises to the top when discussing actors who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to their roles. He is known for his unique, transformative style and dedication, as evidenced by his captivating roles over the years.
However, his drastic dietary changes are one aspect of his transformation process that has recently sparked curiosity. The star of the popular TV show Peaky Blinders made headlines when he revealed that he reintroduced meat to his diet to fit better into his on-screen persona.
This revelation prompts discussions about our dietary choices and their impact on our physical appearance and overall health.
Going to Extremes for a Role
Cillian Murphy has an undeniable reputation for becoming his characters, not only in mannerisms and emotion but also in appearance. The extremes he’s willing to go to prepare for a role became more evident while working on the film Oppenheimer.
His co-star, Hollywood stalwart Matt Damon, spilled the beans to Entertainment Tonight about the drastic lengths Murphy would lose weight for his role. According to Damon, Murphy’s commitment to his part led him to forego dinner altogether.
The fascinating revelations didn’t end there. Emily Blunt, who plays Oppenheimer’s wife in the same film, added to Damon’s comments.
She said, “his diet during filming was incredibly sparse, often amounting to just one almond most nights or a little slice of apple.”
However, as eyebrow-raising as these dietary extremes might be, it’s not the first time that Murphy has manipulated his diet to embody a role more authentically.
From Veggie Lover to Meat-Eater for Peaky Blinders
Murphy delved into his dietary history in an engaging chat with Mr. Porter in 2017. He confessed that he followed a vegetarian diet for around 15 years before he decided to reintroduce meat to meet the demands of his character in Peaky Blinders. In the show, Murphy plays the iconic Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, a formidable gangster who gradually transitions into politics.
Murphy clarified that his choice to go vegetarian was less about ethics and more about personal health. During the 1980s, the mad cow disease scare, a neurodegenerative disease originating from infected British cattle, significantly impacted him. However, when he signed on for Peaky Blinders, the showrunners were keen that Murphy’s character didn’t perpetuate the ‘skinny Irish fella’ stereotype.
Thus, on his trainer’s recommendation, Murphy welcomed meat back into his diet.
The “Great Protein Debate”
While Murphy’s dietary switch sparked interest, it’s worth noting that he’s not the only celebrity who has deviated from a plant-based diet. That said, his experience does raise an important discussion point — the age-old protein debate.
There’s a common misconception that meat is the only substantial source of protein, and that’s far from the truth.
In a conversation with Insider in 2020, vegan bodybuilder Torre Washington debunked this myth. He asserted that since he embraced a vegan lifestyle in 1998, he never faced any issues gaining muscle. Washington explained that his protein-rich foods include oatmeal, tofu, pea protein, lentils, rice, beans, and various fresh fruits and vegetables, including Japanese sweet potatoes and greens.
Finding the Balance
Murphy’s dramatic diet shifts remind us of the importance of maintaining a balanced approach to our nutrition. His dedication to his craft is undoubtedly inspiring, but it’s crucial to remember that such extreme dietary changes should be cautiously undertaken.
The critical takeaway is to listen to your body’s needs, consult nutritional experts, and maintain a balanced diet. Subsisting on just an almond or a slice of apple a day, as Murphy did for a role, isn’t a sustainable or healthy long-term option.
We can admire his unwavering commitment to his roles, but it’s equally important to prioritize our well-being and ensure our dietary choices support our overall health.