‘Blood Runs Coal’: Cillian Murphy To Lead Union Mining True Crime Film

Fresh off of his Best Actor win at the Oscars for Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy has lined up his next project for Universal. And this one also sounds like a film that could have him in the mix come awards season. Deadline reports Murphy will star in crime drama Blood Runs Coal, an adaptation of Mark A. Bradley’s book about the 1969 assassination of Joseph “Jock” Yablonski, a prominent labor leader in the Union Mine Workers who had accused a rival of fraud.

The film will have a script by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, writers on Edge of Tomorrow, Ford v Ferrari, and more.

Murphy will take on the role of Chip Yablonski, son of Jock who sets out to get justice for his murdered family. Another key role will be that of Jocki’s political rival, Tony Boyle, the violent union president central to Jock’s murder.

No word on a director just yet, but given the talent already involved it shouldn’t take long. This story of corruption and murder and industry sounds like it exists in the same universe as Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, doesn’t it?

Here’s the synopsis for Bradley’s book:

In the early hours of New Year’s Eve 1969, in the small soft coal mining borough of Clarksville, Pennsylvania, longtime trade union insider Joseph “Jock” Yablonski and his wife and daughter were brutally murdered in their old stone farmhouse. Seven months earlier, Yablonski had announced his campaign to oust the corrupt president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), Tony Boyle, who had long embezzled UMWA funds, silenced intra-union dissent, and served the interests of Big Coal companies.

Yablonski wanted to return the union to the coal miners it was supposed to represent and restore the organization to what it had once been: a powerful force for social good. Boyle was enraged about his opponent’s bid to take over—and would go to any lengths to maintain power. The most infamous crimes in the history of American labor unions, the Yablonski murders triggered one of the most intensive and successful manhunts in FBI history—and also led to the first successful rank-and-file takeover of a major labor union in modern U.S. history, one that inspired workers in other labor unions to rise up and challenge their own entrenched, out-of-touch leaders.

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.