Peaky Blinders: Tommy gets arrested following shoot out
The Irish actor, 44, has starred as head of the Shelby crime family in the hit BBC show Peaky Blinders, which first aired eight years ago. The story is loosely based on real gangsters that reigned chaos in the “backstreets of Birmingham” and “plagued the poor”, according to the historian Professor Carl Chinn. The TV adaptation attracted its highest viewing figures for the season five finale two years ago after four million people watched the show.
Peaky Blinders fans were left disappointed last year when director Anthony Byrne revealed that season six would be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cast and crew were unable to film due to measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which has caused the deaths of more than 89,000 people in the UK.
Mr Byrne revealed that they were due to resume filming late last year, which means that the show might not reach TV screens until 2022.
Since the news of the show’s delay fans have returned to Netflix to revisit the Birmingham crime gang’s brutal reign in the early 20th century.
Season five ended with Cillian’s character in a difficult situation after the Peaky Blinders had failed to assassinate the British fascist Osward Mosley.
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While fans will be unable to watch more instalments from the show for now, Cillian gave an insight into Thomas Shelby during a podcast interview.
The star, who also appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, admitted that he struggled to play Shelby due to his “physically imposing” nature.
Cillian confessed that he was “not nearly as interesting” as his character and they had very different personalities.
He said: “I read the scripts and I knew this guy had to be sort of physically intimidating, he had to be intimidating in his presence.
“It was an exercise in kind of trying to find ways that me, [someone] who is not a very physically imposing person, could embody this character, who was.”
Peaky Blinders: Thomas Shelby’s haircut is short on the sides and back and was adopted by fans
Cillian admitted that he “dropped [his] voice” to give Shelby a more threatening sound when he spoke and that his character’s iconic haircut helped too.
He said: “You can find a way into a character through various ways and I spent a lot of time with Tommy trying to find ways.
“He’s a decorated soldier, a veteran of World War 1, right? So the guy is… he’s seen stuff that you and I couldn’t even begin to conceive.
“So then the haircut, the voice, the walk, the costumes – you do everything you can to make [yourself] not look like you’re just an actor who has walked-in off the street.
“So it was a long process to get there and it’s kind of evolved over the course of the show.”
Cillian’s comment about the haircut, which was made during a 2019 episode of the podcast Happy Sad Confused, provoked a further question from interviewer Josh Horowitz.
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He quipped: “It must bother your mind that the haircut is mentioned in every interview you do?”
Cillian laughed as he replied: “It’s nuts, isn’t it?”
Mr Horowitz continued: “It’s becoming ‘a thing’, it’s like you started a trend that’s lasted [and has not been seen] since the Friends’ ‘Rachel haircut.’”
Cillian then teased: “It’s beloved by fashionistas and hipsters.
“The weird thing is, I keep saying, ‘You realise it’s to prevent [them] against getting lice?’”
TV show Peaky Blinders was based on real gangster in Birmingham from the late 1800s to World War 2
Mr Horowitz continued: “[There’s] nothing more trendy than hair infestation.”
Then in reference to the short back and sides haircut, Cillian added: “But yeah, it’s a very graphic silhouette, do you know what I mean?
“With that haircut, the cap and the costume it became instantly sort of recognisable as a ‘Peaky thing’.
“Again it was a total fluke but we just chanced upon something, [there is] all of this is sort of alchemy but no one knows.
“If you ever try to shoot for a specific demographic, if you were trying to shoot to be fashionable or relevant you’re dead.
“None of these things happen by design… it was just luck.”
Peaky Blinders: Tommy and Polly feature in series five bonus clip
Cillian went on to add that the music used during the show “set the bar, the tone and the atmosphere”.
Peaky Blinders’ theme tune Red Right Hand was performed by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and since then the show has featured tracks from David Bowie, Radiohead and others.
Ahead of the show’s return, director Mr Byrne told NME that the period crime drama could return to screens in 2021 – but many have concluded that 2022 is more realistic.
Despite this prediction, in November Paul Anderson, who plays Arthur Shelby, teased fans with an Instagram post where he claimed it was “coming f***ing soon”.
He added: “Thanking you all for the wait, it will will [sic] be worth it.”
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight told NME that season six will be a “tragedy” that focuses on whether Tommy and the Shelby family “are cursed”.
Seasons one to five of Peaky Blinders are available to watch on Netflix.
Published at Mon, 18 Jan 2021 14:59:00 +0000