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Christopher Nolan names his three 'best' actors of all time

Christopher Nolan names his three 'best' actors of all time

Christopher Nolan has named three of the 'best' actors of all time

Christopher Nolan is widely considered to be one of the greatest directors of all time – with each of his films being a proper who’s who of Hollywood’s finest.

Whether that be his numerous films with Michael Caine, his relationship with Christian Bale, or him casting everyone in Hollywood in Oppenheimer, the director has worked with so many incredible actors.

As such – Nolan is about as well placed as anyone to comment on who the best actors of all time are.

After a long wait, Nolan finally won an Oscar for Oppenheimer. (Getty Images)
After a long wait, Nolan finally won an Oscar for Oppenheimer. (Getty Images)

Whilst the legendary filmmaker has never outright sat down and been asked “who are your three favourite actors you’ve ever worked with”, he has over the years made reference to three actors as being some of the best of all time.

Cillian Murphy

The actor who finally got Nolan his long awaited Oscar – Murphy has long been a favourite of the director, appearing in six of his movies.

Most of these were in smaller roles, though in Oppenheimer he finally played a leading man for the English filmmaker.

Nolan said of Murphy: “I’ve never seen an actor with such a commitment to the truth. But I’d never had him as the lead, so it was a thrill to be able to call him and say, ‘This is the one’.”

Murphy is a favourite of Nolan. (Getty Images)
Murphy is a favourite of Nolan. (Getty Images)

Nolan also said that the Irish actor was ‘one of the best actors of his generation’.

He also said to Total Film: “I’ve always known since I first met him – however many years ago it is now, almost 20 years – that he is one of the great actors, not just of his generation, but of all time."

We tend to agree. Whilst he may have exploded in an awards sense with Oppenheimer, with Peaky Blinders, 28 Days Later, and Inception, the actor was building an incredibly catalogue of films even before his Oscar win.

Robert Downey Jr

With the Oppenheimer cast being top to bottom stacked, it is not surprising that the director has singled out two from his most recent film.

Downey Jr is an actor who has had many careers in one. An initial young bright star, he had personal troubles before returning as Iron Man, revitalising his career.

After several years in the MCU though, he needed to remind people he could play other roles than snarky with fun facial hair, and along came Nolan.

What followed next we all know – huge acclaim, an Oscar, and everyone acknowledging Downey Jr as one of the best around.

Robert Downey Jr. starring in Oppenheimer. (Universal Pictures)
Robert Downey Jr. starring in Oppenheimer. (Universal Pictures)

Nolan said in a Total Film interview: “We all know that Robert Downey Jr. is one of the great movie stars.

"It’s so easy to forget that he’s also one of the greatest actors of all time.”

"Watching him lose himself in that performance, and completely lose himself in a character in this way, was just an incredible reminder of just what an amazing actor he is."

Al Pacino

An obvious one, but one of the lesser-known great actors to have worked with Nolan.

Pacino starred in 2002’s Insomnia alongside the late Robin Williams, one of Nolan’s most underrated flicks.

Al Pacino in Insomnia. (Warner Brothers)
Al Pacino in Insomnia. (Warner Brothers)

Nolan last year told a story about Pacino pushing back on his direction, insisting he had got a take which the director was unconvinced by.

He said: “He told me, ‘I’ve already done that. You can’t see it to the eye, but I’ve done it.”

After looking back at the footage, he said: “I looked for it and I was like, ‘Oh, my God,’ because there it was. Great film actors can do that.”

Labelling Al Pacino as one of the greats, we’d all love to see the pair work together one more time.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr, Al Pacino, Oppenheimer, Film, TV and Film