Disappointed Cillian Murphy meme

Meme History: Disappointed Cillian Murphy

What happens when a man who doesn’t know what a meme is becomes one?


Kyle Calise


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In the summer of 2023, the Barbenheimer phenomenon gave us both the most sugary sweet story ever told about an inanimate object, as well as a bump to one of the saltiest internet memes in recent history.

Not mad, just disappointed. We’re talking of course about the most disinterested actor ever to grace a press junket, Cillian Murphy.

In 2015, during the press tour for Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea, Cillian Murphy and Tom Holland took turns fielding questions from a variety of interviewers, But in On Demand Entertainment’s video specifically, Cillian looked like he was really struggling emotionally to hang in there.

The comments on this video are true gems because the best ones didn’t even talk about the film at all—mostly just Cillian’s dark countenance, and the intensity of his blank stare.

By July of 2017, the community was beginning to realize that this wasn’t an isolated incident. A Tumblr page called InColors posted a grid of images of Cillian Murphy from press junkets promoting different films, in which he looks miserable on a repeated basis—but the top image is still from the same YouTube video promoting In the Heart of the Sea.

In five years, this Tumblr post reached 42,000 notes. By the following October, it wasn’t just individual bloggers who were latching onto all of this. NME posted a video leveraging the meme’s popularity as a hook, tilting it, “Cillian Murphy & Timothy Spall react to ‘disappointed Cillian Murphy meme’.

As of the writing of this article, it has 735,000 views. But when asked what he thought about it, Cillian was—true to form—nonplussed. His first reaction was “What’s a meme?

In a newer interview in 2023, he explained that he does now know what a meme is—he has two teenage boys after all. But his explanation at the time for why he might look disappointed was actually pretty reasonable.

“You’ve got to talk about these things and generally it’s a film that you’re very proud of and excited by, which I am of this, but it can be wearing if you do three days of it, and sometimes you have a little dream about, I don’t know.”

But despite whatever might actually be going on in Murphy’s mind, the meme had already reached a critical mass.

One of the most epic moments was when a YouTuber posted a supercut of a bunch of junkets with Cillian, captioning it in a super dramatic way. This video went viral on its own, ultimately reaching 4.2 million views.

On TikTokTwitter, Reddit, and everywhere else memes are shared, Disappointed Cillian Murphy is a symbol of being superior, standoffish, depressed, disinterested, or just baffled.

And to drive the point home, on TikTok specifically, it often features this sad music.


Disappointed Cillian Murphy is far from the first disappointed meme to grace the internet, but in the wake of Margot Robbie’s Barbie movie out-earning Murphy’s Oppenheimer by nearly half a billion dollars, it’s certainly the most visible in today’s day and age.

Other older, and now lesser-known disappointed memes include Disappointed HerculesDisappointed Cricket Fan, and Facepalm, to name a few.

Whatever the use case, Cillian seems unbothered and uninterested in these shenanigans. If you feel uncomfortable with his piercing gaze seeing into your soul all the way from the other side of your screen, just remember he’s only there to talk about his project. 

He can’t truly be disappointed if he’s not thinking about you at all.

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