One of the biggest breakout roles on modern television is Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders, the UK gangster show which spawned a million merchandise deals. Cillian Murphy is now so well established as Tommy in popular culture, it’s hard to imagine that not only was he not first choice, that was Jason Statham.
Creator Steven Knight told Esquire “I met them both in LA to talk about the role and opted for Jason,” he said, referring to Statham and Murphy, “One of the reasons was because physically in the room Jason is Jason… Cillian, when you meet him, isn’t Tommy, obviously, but I was stupid enough not to understand that.”
So what happened? Cillian sent a text. “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.”
Never give up people.