Steve Knight, the creator of ‘Peaky Blinders’, was convinced that Cillian Murphy was the ideal fit for the lead role in the show after receiving a chilling text message from him. Despite Knight’s initial preference for Jason Statham due to his imposing physical presence, Murphy managed to sway his decision. Murphy was persistent in his pursuit of the role, as he viewed it as a chance to push himself out of his comfort zone and depart from his previous acting gigs.
Cillian Murphy successfully convinced the creator of Peaky Blinders, Steven Knight, that he was the ideal fit for the show’s lead role through a single eerie text message. Prior to their meeting, Knight had considered Jason Statham, known mainly for his action-packed roles, as the natural choice for the intellectual and intimidating Thomas Shelby. However, Murphy fought for the role he truly wanted and managed to persuade Knight that he was the perfect fit for the character. Murphy’s determination paid off, beating out Statham and securing the role with just one text message. This anecdote highlights the importance of self-confidence and persistence in pursuing one’s goals.
When considering who would be the perfect fit for the intense character of Thomas Shelby in the BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders, creator Steven Knight met with both Jason Statham and Cillian Murphy. Initially, Knight decided to offer the role to Statham due to his intimidating physical presence and reputation as a tough guy. According to Knight’s interview with Esquire, he stated, “I met them both in L.A. to talk about the role and opted for Jason (Statham). One of the reasons was because physically in the room Jason is Jason.”
When Knight met with Cillian Murphy after his audition for the role of the violent gang leader, he was not as impressed as he had hoped to be. Despite this, Murphy was determined to leave a lasting impression on the show’s creator. In fact, he even beat out Jason Statham for the part by sending Knight a chilling four-word text message that changed his mind completely. The message simply read, “Remember, I’m an actor.” Knight realized that Murphy had the ability to transform himself into any character on screen and this was an extraordinary talent. Thus, Murphy’s message was a reminder that he was more than just a regular person on the street, and he could become anyone he needed to be for his roles.
Cillian Murphy’s recent message has been misconstrued by some as a jab at Jason Statham’s acting abilities. However, the Red Eye actor clarified that his words were not meant to discredit Statham’s skills. Instead, Murphy was trying to convey to Peaky Blinders creator, Steven Knight, that he could portray a brutal and intimidating character if needed, just like Statham. Murphy revealed this during an interview with The Guardian, where he also discussed how he had to convince producers that he could physically embody the role of Tommy Shelby in the show. Murphy also mentioned that his message had nothing to do with Statham or his talents as an actor. He emphasized that he is an actor, and Statham is not, and the two are entirely unrelated. So why did Murphy fight so hard for the role? The answer remains a mystery.
Cillian Murphy met with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight to express his interest in playing an intimidating character, despite not appearing that way himself. After their meeting, Murphy sent Knight a convincing text message that ultimately secured him the role of the criminal gang leader. In a 2022 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Murphy discussed his initial hesitation about playing such a hyper-masculine character, but knew he wanted the role and was willing to work for it. He believes acting shouldn’t be limiting and that the industry often tries to pigeonhole actors into certain roles. Overall, Murphy saw the role as a gift and an opportunity to explore a different type of character.
Perhaps it might be seen as a little shortsighted, but I’ve always made an effort to take on unexpected or challenging roles to avoid getting stuck in a particular career path. Murphy also discussed the difficulties he sometimes faces when portraying a violent character. “I struggle with the violence sometimes…I struggle with that part of it. But he (Shelby) is a contradictory, complex, difficult character to play. You’ve got to put aside your own moral compass and go with it.” With Peaky Blinders now over, fans are eager to know what’s next for the actor. There have been rumors of a Peaky Blinders movie, and Murphy will star in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming period drama, Oppenheimer.