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Murphy was ‘natural performer’ says ex-teacher

A former teacher of actor Cillian Murphy has said it was obvious during his teenage years that he was a natural performer.

The Cork actor attended the Presentation Brothers College in the city were he was taught English by poet William Wall, who said it was clear the stage was Murphy’s “habitat”.

He was speaking as Murphy won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his performance in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.

Mr Wall said: “Cillian and his brother and a guy called Bob Jackson had a band called the Sons of Mr Green Genes, they played in the school at lunchtime and you could see straight away that he loved the stage.”

“He was a natural, an absolute natural for performance of any kind.”

Mr Wall said his wife was a maths teacher in the school and used to run a drama module for 4th years.

“He was absolutely fantastic and there was that feeling that the stage was his habitat, he just belonged there,” Mr Wall said.

Cillian Murphy and William Wall have kept in touch over the years, writing to each other.

Mr Wall said he wrote to his former student after his Golden Globe win to congratulate him.

“I told him he’s a chameleon, he can enter the soul of whatever character he is protraying,” he said.

Mr Wall said in school Mr Murphy “was one of those guys in the class who got literature and understood what poetry and plays were about instead of learning notes to try and pass exams”.

He felt his student was suited to a career in the Arts but could not have foreseen that he would be a famous actor.

Mr Wall said he went to see Mr Murphy perform in Disco Pigs around two years after he left school.

“I was blown away by it, then I knew something was happening,” he added.

William Wall has since left the school to focus on his poetry and became Cork’s first Poet Laureate in 2021.

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