An Oscar has never been awarded to a film that went straight from the cameras onto DVD shelves, but if a leading Hollywood producer has his way, Cillian Murphy might just buck that rule.
Barry Mendel, who has produced scores of commercial and critical hits including "The Sixth Sense," "Munich," "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Whip It," maintains that Cork-born Murphy is worthy of a gold statuette for his star turn in "Peacock," a psychological thriller that also stars Susan Sarandon and Ellen Page. The film found no home in the cineplexes despite its star wattage, and instead went straight to DVD release last month.
Mendel, who produced "Peacock," told MTV that Murphy’s performance as a cross-dressing Psycho-type character took his breath away.
“I mean, it’s one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen in my life,” Mendel said. “I have not been involved in a better performance in any of the films I’ve done.
“The great performances that I’ve gotten to be a part of are Bill Murray in 'Rushmore,' Haley Joel Osment and Toni Collette in 'The Sixth Sense'; I’ve gotten to be involved in some really good ones, like Adam Sandler in 'Funny People' or Gene Hackman in 'The Royal Tenenbaums,' but I think Cillian ranks up there. It was amazing to watch every day, and he took a lot of time to figure this out.”
Mendel told MTV that he’s going to do his all to ensure that Academy members at least see the film. As to why it didn’t make into the cineplexes, he said that monetary concerns ruled at the end of the day.
“The whole reason why it went straight to DVD is its own question,” he said. “There are lots of reviews and people online who are saying, ‘It’s crazy this didn’t go theatrical!’ but our financiers didn’t choose to take it to festivals and do the normal things that one does to try to get the film out there. They have their reasons for doing it."
Let’s face it, in this day and age, 90 percent of the people who see any film see it on DVD, so for the 10 percent of people that could see it on the big screen, it’s too bad. But we’re not crying in our beer over it. We got to make the movie that we wanted to make, and we’re super happy that we got to have the experience and that the film exists.”
Searching the Internet does indeed bring up many favorable reviews for "Peacock," and Murphy’s performance in particular. The film, according to one site, centers on Murphy’s character, John Skillpa, a quiet bank clerk living in Peacock, Nebraska, who lives his life in solitude. Then, in a moment, everything changes.
A train caboose runs off its tracks and crashes into his backyard, and neighbors descend on the scene, they discover Skillpa’s other personality, Emma, for the first time and mistakenly believe her to be his wife. This launches him into the glare of the spotlight and eventually shatters the delicate balance of his sanity.
Murphy won’t be flying under the radar screen for his next release. He co-stars with Leonardo Di Caprio in one of the summer’s most anticipated films, the sci-fi flick "Inception," which is due to drop on July 16.