PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Nine years later, Cillian Murphy is back at the Sundance Film Festival, where he got such great exposure that people finally learned to pronounce his name.
The Irish actor — whose first name begins with a hard K sound — was a breakout star at Sundance in 2003 with the horror hit "28 Days Later."
The film about a London man who wakes from a coma to find the land overrun by a plague that has turned people into raging zombies already was a hit in Great Britain when it played at the festival.
The rousing reception at Sundance built U.S. buzz for the film and for Murphy, who went on to appear in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins," ''The Dark Knight" and "Inception" and returned to this year's festival with the thriller "Red Lights."
"When it was well-received here, that had a big impact on its release in the States," said Murphy, who had a handful of credits behind him when director Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting," ''Slumdog Millionaire") cast him in the lead of "28 Days Later."
"I think that was my first time in a film with a real, proper director, a name director. And it was a nice part, so I guess people attempted to pronounce my name after that. That was definitely the watershed."
Along with roles in Nolan's blockbusters, Murphy went on to star in Boyle's science-fiction tale "Sunshine," Neil Jordan's transgender story "Breakfast on Pluto," Wes Craven's airline thriller "Red Eye" and Ken Loach's Irish historical drama "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," which earned the top prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
In writer-director Rodrigo Cortes' "Red Lights," Murphy and Sigourney Weaver play researchers who debunk phony claims of the paranormal, while Robert De Niro co-stars as a superstar psychic.
Millennium Entertainment announced Wednesday that it has picked up the U.S. theatrical rights for "Red Lights."