Jason Statham was Tommy Shelby’s first choice in Peaky Blinders


It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Tommy Shelby now, other than Cillian Murphy. He has finally hung up his pointed cap, since the sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders has just arrived on Netflix in the United States. However, Tommy could have had a very different vibe, as he was almost played by…Jason Statham.

Creator Steven Knight says he met with Murphy and Statham in Los Angeles to talk about the role and actually cast Jason, likely due to the fact that he’s physically large. Shelby is of course a gangster and Murphy is only 5ft 7 or 8 and a bit skinny.

We all know that Murphy would go on to create a haunted character, suffering from World War I PTSD, who could threaten convincingly just by the power of his acting skills. The strength of his icy blue eyes certainly helps give him a menacing look too. You might even say that part of what makes Shelby such a great character is its size, because you wouldn’t expect it to be as intimidating as it is.

In 2020, Steven Knight said Squire; “I met them both in LA to talk about the role and I went with Jason. One of the reasons was that physically in the room, Jason is Jason. Cillian, when you meet him, obviously isn’t Tommy, but I was stupid enough not to understand that He texted me [later] saying, “Remember, I’m an actor,” which he absolutely is, because he can transform.

While Statham is great at what he does (particularly his gangster roles in Guy Ritchie films), it’s hard to imagine him doing a convincing Brummy accent to begin with, let alone having the skill to actor to pull off such a character arc over six seasons. Knight has long promised us that Peaky will follow the pattern of six seasons and one movie.

While you wait to learn more about the film, check out our guide to the best Netflix series.


Comments are closed.