Cillian Murphy Recalls the Text That Won Him His “Peaky Blinders” Role

Cillian Murphy at the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards in January 2024
Cillian Murphy at the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards in January 2024. Photo by CraSH/imageSPACE/Shutterstock (14283109cn)

Cillian Murphy is currently winning awards left and right for his performance in Oppenheimer, but this definitely isn’t his only iconic role. Murphy spent almost a decade playing Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders, and he recently remembered the text message that won him this part.

It’s impossible to imagine anyone but Murphy playing the calculated Peaky Blinders leader, but the Oscar-nominated actor revealed he had to fight for this role during a recent appearance on BBC’s Desert Island Discs.

“I wasn’t the obvious choice physically. I don’t know if I convinced Stephen in the meeting, but apparently, afterwards I sent him a text that said: ‘Remember, I am an actor.’ And I do believe that. I do think it is our duty as actors to transform to whatever the part demands,” explained Murphy.

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight previously revealed he got this text from Murphy, and later realized he could inhabit the role completely despite not being an obvious choice to play Tommy Shelby.

Peaky Blinders ended its run in 2022 after six seasons, and Knight recently revealed he’s finishing up a script for a follow-up movie. Murphy isn’t officially attached to this project, but he’s open to coming back if “there’s more story to tell.”