Peaky Blinders, set in a world of deception and gangsterism, has always shocked the spectators with the release of every new season. The plot revolves around the world, where characters are always hanging at the point of a gun. And viewers attribute this enormous popularity to the hands of our fierce protagonist Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy. Murphy immortalized Tommy Shelby with his performance, but the actor was not the first choice to play Tommy. So how did he bag the role?
Cillian Murphy shares his experience playing the central role in Peaky Blinders
Today, Cillian Murphy is synonymous with Tommy Shelby and one cannot imagine one without the other. However, it wasn’t always the case. The actor wasn’t considered for the role and he had to text director Steven Knight personally. Part of his text to Knight included “remember I’m an actor.” Needless to day, he bagged the role and we are all glad for what followed for next six seasons and a decade.
Years later in his interview with Entertainment Weekly, he calls the text “apocryphal”. And he is okay with that because in the beginning even Murphy wasn’t sure if he could play a “hyper-masculine character” like Tommy Shelby. At that point in his career, he had never a played a character even remotely similar to the physically imposing Shelby.
However, none of the doubts mattered. Murphy found the story cool and considered Tommy to be a “gift of a role“. Then it was about convincing the creators that he could become the character. The need to flip the script and do something different with his career was also his motivation behind wanting to work in Peaky Blinders.
“But that’s the thing about acting, you shouldn’t be limited,” said the Oppenheimer actor. He explained that by saying how the industry will expect you to do roles you did well in the past. This is why Murphy constantly tries to pick up unexpected roles and projects.
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This approach seems to be working for the actor because even though his previous roles were entirely different from Tommy’s, his stint at Peaky Blinders turned out great. And boy, are we fans glad that the actor chose not to limit his career and instead picked up Tommy. Who else would we be collectively crushing on?
What are your thoughts on Murphy’s journey to becoming Tommy?