Cillian Murphy to Star in Sensational Blood Runs Coal Adaptation

Cillian Murphy is set to star in and producer an adaptation of Blood Runs Coal. Read on to learn more about this upcoming adaptation.

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Book cover of "Blood Runs Coal" on a smudged gray background.

With a recent Oscar win under his belt, Cillian Murphy is now an actor that everyone has their eyes on. Fortunately, Murphy is lining up some exciting projects for his future. One of those projects is a film adaptation that tells an exciting true story. Murphy is attached to star in and produce an adaptation of Blood Runs Coal: The Yablonski Murders and the Battle for the United Mine Workers of America by Mark A. Bradley. The project will be produced by Universal Pictures. Screenwriters Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth will be adapting the thrilling book.

What is Blood Runs Coal about?

Blood Runs Coal takes place in Pennsylvania in the 1960s. Specifically, the story takes place in the coal mines. Joseph Yoblonski, a big trade union insider, was going to run for president of the Union Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in order to get rid of the corruption put into place by Tony Boyle, the president at the time. In 1969, a few months after the campaign announcement, Yoblonski, his wife, and his daughter were brutally murdered.

"Blood Runs Coal" book cover with a black and white photo of a house and tall trees in the snow with a car out front on top and an orange rectangle with the title on the bottom.

Yoblonski had big dreams in his campaign, as he wanted to help save the UWMA. He wanted the UWMA to have a mission of powerful social good once again, instead of the shady and fraudulent mission that the organization had gained. However, Boyle, who had been embezzling money from the UMWA, was willing to do everything that he could to keep his presidential position. Is there a connection? The book dives into the FBI’s investigation of the murders and the changes that then occurred in the UWMA. The event inspired other laborers to share their voice for fair conditions, and it left a mark on union history.

Cillian’s Recent Work

Currently, Murphy is the holder of the Oscar award for Best Actor. He won this award for playing the titular role in Oppenheimer, which is based on the book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherman. Murphy is also known for starring in British historical television series Peaky Blinders, which aired for six seasons. There have also been talks about the series possibly being revived in the near future.

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer wearing a hat and a suit with trees and grass I the background while he looks slightly downward and confused and sad.

Blood Runs Coal is not the only film that is in Murphy’s future. The film of Small Things Like These is set to come out soon, which stars and was produced by Murphy. This movie is an adaptation of the popular novel of the same name by Claire Deegan about a coal merchant in 1980s Ireland. The movie recently had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, with a wide release expected to come soon.

Jez and John-Henry Butterworth’s Work

The screenwriting duo attached to the film, who are also brothers, have worked on many successful projects in recent years. The two wrote the 2014 action movie Edge of Tomorrow, which starred Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Their James Brown biopic Get On Up, starring Chadwick Boseman, was released in the same year. The two also worked on the Best Picture nominated Ford v Ferrari, which came out in 2019. This past year, the two worked on the most recent Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Jez Butterworth accepts the Tony Award for Best Play for "The Ferryman" with the cast of "The Ferryman" behind him.

Along with the collaborations, the two brothers have also worked on projects separately. John-Henry was a co-developer and executive producer for the popular television series Nine Perfect Strangers. On the other hand, Jez has worked on films like the crime drama Black Mass and the James Bond movie Spectre. In addition, Jez has done some work in the Broadway world, with his play The Ferryman winning Best Play at the 73rd Tony Awards. Earlier, at the 65th Tony Awards, his play Jerusalem was a nominee for Best Play. Currently, his play The Hills of California is playing on the West End at the Harold Pinter Theatre until June 15th.

Mark A. Bradley’s Work

Along with writing the book Blood Runs Coal, which came out in 2020, Bradley wrote A Very Principled Boy: The Life of Duncan Lee, Red Spy and Cold Warrior in 2014. While the two books are fairly different, they both tell shocking but true stories. A Very Principled Boy is about Duncan Chaplin Lee, a mole in the United States intelligence operations. Lee seemed perfect on paper, which is what helped him quickly rise up as a communist spy. Like in Blood Runs Coal, Bradley digs deep into this true story to show how it all went down.

Book cover of "A Very Principled Boy" with a young man's photo on a gray background.

While Bradley has written some exciting books, he also has done a lot of important work outside of the literary world. Bradley used to be a CIA Intelligence officer and is an attorney for the United States Department of Justice National Security Division. Bradley also has a Master of Arts in Modern History from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Bradley’s work in intelligence and security, as well as his education in history, has helped the writing that he does as it has given him expertise in many relevant topics.

The adaptation of Blood Runs Coal is in the early stages of development, so there have not been any other casting decisions announced, nor has there been an announcement of when filming begins. However, with the novel being available to read, it is already clear that there is a thrilling story in store for this film. Furthermore, Murphy’s talent has been shining in recent years, which means he will likely bring a lot of his performing power to this movie.

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