Peaky Blinders: Battle for Tommy Shelby Role

It seems that actor Cillian Murphy once played second fiddle to another performer in his aspirations of clinching the choice role of Tommy Selby in Peaky Blinders.

According to series creator Steve Knight, Cillian Murphy was originally his second choice for the part. Knight held meetings with both Jason Statham and Cillian Murphy regarding the role of Tommy Shelby, and has revealed he left the meetings with a picture in his mind of Statham being more suited to the role.

Steve Knight recently spoke to Esquire and divulged the fact that he had originally favored Statham ahead of Murphy. “I met them both in LA to talk about the role and opted for Jason,” Knight told Esquire. “One of the reasons was because physically in the room Jason is Jason.”

He went on: “Cillian, when you meet him, isn’t Tommy, obviously, but I was stupid enough not to understand that.”

Following a meeting with Knight, Cillian Murphy appeared to grasp the fact that he wouldn’t be Knight’s choice to play Tommy Shelby and that, in all probability, Statham would bag the role. So he sent a text message to Steve Knight in a last ditch attempt to convince him otherwise. Knight recalled, “He sent me a text saying, ‘Remember, I’m an actor’, which is absolutely the thing, because he can transform himself. If you meet him in the street he is a totally different human being.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Cillian Murphy secured the role – and a whole five seasons later it’s truly difficult to imagine anyone else playing the part of Tommy Shelby.

Filming for Season Six of the iconic British period crime drama has been delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The series, which follows the lives of the Shelby crime family, and is set in Birmingham in the aftermath of the First World War, is loosely based on a real 19th century urban youth gang of the same name. Actor Stephen Graham, who recently enjoyed critical success playing the role of  Anthony ‘Tony Pro’ Provenzano in The Irishman, will be joining the cast of Peaky Blinders for the upcoming Season Six.

In May, 2018, creator Steven Knight told Birmingham Press Club, “we are definitely doing [series] six and we will probably do seven”. He has also indicated in the past that once the series is complete, a film or spin-off could follow.

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind Game Summer 2020 Release.

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