Real Reason Oppenheimer Star Cillian Murphy Absolutely Hated Playing Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders: “I shouldn’t look like a skinny Irish fella”

Real Reason Oppenheimer Star Cillian Murphy Absolutely Hated Playing Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders: "I shouldn't look like a skinny Irish fella"
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The visually stunning depiction of nineteenth-century England in Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders makes it one of the best—if not the best—period dramas ever produced. And it is safe to say that the character-driven program would not be possible without Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Thomas Shelby.

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Prior to Peaky Blinders, the 47-year-old Irish actor captured our attention for his parts in 28 Days Later, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Inception. Murphy, who has always had a somewhat contrasting reputation in the real world, is also best known for his outstanding performance as Thomas Shelby in the drama series, Peaky Blinders.

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Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders
Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders

Well, there are several members of the Shelby gang, but only Shelby is as complex and dependent as the others.

He is both the story’s main character and the mastermind of the brutal Peaky Blinders gang. However, did you know that the lead actor detested playing Thomas Shelby, the character which has given him much acclaim?  

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Also read: “That’s fine, it means I’m doing my job”: Oppenheimer Star Cillian Murphy Blames Peaky Blinders Fame for His ‘Underwhelming’ Real Life Persona That Leaves Fans Frustrated

Why Cillian Murphy Hated Playing Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders?

One of the most talented actors of his generation, Cillian Murphy is well known for his mesmerizing roles in blockbusters like Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy.

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However, his portrayal of Tommy Shelby in the popular Netflix series, Peaky Blinders presented a challenge that went beyond his acting skills.

Preparation for this much-appreciated British series was difficult. The actors had to dress in period-appropriate hairdos and master their accents. There were many challenges involved in acting in a historical, intense, and violent drama, but Murphy in particular detested one aspect of the training.  

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Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy

Fans are aware that Shelby can be icy, cunning, and occasionally even cruel, which is enough to make anyone cower in fear. Although his ice-blue eyes do the trick, his build also plays a big role. Murphy had to adhere to a strict diet and exercise regimen to become the dreadful crime boss in Peaky Blinders.

Despite being physically slim, the Oppenheimer actor found it challenging to reach his ideal size. Back in 2017, the 47-year-old actor told Mr. Porter Magazine:

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“For the first series of ‘Peaky Blinders,’ they were anxious that I shouldn’t look like a skinny Irish fella, and my trainer recommended meat.” 

It must have been difficult for Murphy to resume eating meat after going vegetarian for the previous 15 years because he was “worried about getting mad cow disease”.  

Read More: Cillian Murphy Gives the Most Tommy Shelby Response When Asked Why He’s So Dull in Talk Shows

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Cillian Murphy Was A ‘Very Physically Imposing Person’

Cillian Murphy, who played Tommy Shelby didn’t know what was in store for him in order to prepare for such an intense role.

The celebrity has admitted that it was challenging to attain and maintain the level of fitness needed for the job. Even though creating Shelby was a difficult task, the outcomes were successful. Murphy was able to flawlessly transform into a terrifying character that no one would want to annoy.

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Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy

Murphy changed his diet and engaged in a number of physical exercises to get to the right size for his Peaky Blinders role. He admitted to Radio Times (via Express UK) that the gradual process was frustrating:

“I have to eat a lot of protein and lift a lot of weights and do all that stuff. So that takes a while, which I hate.” 

He also recalled that despite his naturally slim build:

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“I am not a very physically imposing person.”

Cillian Murphy in a Still from Oppenheimer
Cillian Murphy in a Still from Oppenheimer

Well, you can watch six seasons of Peaky Blinders, which is currently streaming on Netflix. 

Meanwhile, Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy’s eagerly anticipated upcoming movie, is set to release on July 21, 2023 (US). So, mark the date for this film, which is directed by Christopher Nolan

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Read More: “Is he aware this is Cillian’s 6th Nolan movie?”: Oppenheimer Fans Not Taking Lightly to Robert Downey Jr’s Condescending Tone Towards Cillian Murphy

Source-  Mr. Porter Magazine

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1000 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.