Cillian Murphy breaks down the rise of Tommy Shelby | Peaky Blinders – BBC

Cillian Murphy breaks down the rise of Tommy Shelby | Peaky Blinders – BBC


I always use the First World War as the, sort of, you know –
as the sort of line. And there was a Tommy
before the First World War. And then that happened,
and then there’s a Tommy Shelby after the First World War. And he’s the one that we meet
at the beginning of series one. He looked at me the wrong way. It’s not a good idea to look at
Tommy Shelby the wrong way. The men that came back from that
conflict were…just devastated. And so there was this huge societal
change where you had all these men who had witnessed war on a scale
that we’ve never sort of…imagined. It’s all right. It’s all right. And of course, back then, they were
just spat back into society with no help. For Tommy, I think what it did was –
he lost all faith. Religion was just a joke, you know,
authority was just a joke. You know,
the establishment was a joke. Tommy was a clay-kicker in
the First World War, which is basically a tunneller. They tunnelled under enemy lines… ..and set explosives. And so, it was the most
claustrophobic, horrific, dark job you could possibly have. Like, the worst of the worst,
you know? And he seems to turn that trauma into this kind of
relentless ambition, because he could have died at any
point there, he’s not afraid of death. So, every day is just, like,
for free – so why not? He’s a fascinating character, then, because he’s relentless
and fearless. To encounter him as an enemy
is pretty scary because of that lack of fear. There’s no rest for me
in this world. Perhaps in the next. Also, I think he’s burdened with
an intellect and trying to, sort of, move in the world of
mere mortals who process stuff at a much slower pace. I think for Tommy,
it’s very, very frustrating. I think… ..so that you don’t have to. I think the way Tommy operates is,
the smart people make the decisions, and the less smart people
carry them out. And that seems to him to be
the logical way of things. And in his eyes,
Polly and him are the smart ones. They make the strategy, and it’s carried out by the other
members of the family. All right, you stay with us,
but you stay back.
Let’s go! I think the pre-war Tommy used
to smile a lot, he laughed a lot, he wanted to work with horses. He was very romantic. And all of these things,
you see scratches of them, you know, throughout the show and there’s
times when he feels like he’s getting towards some sort
of healing when he’s with Grace. And then it’s taken away again. And then he retreats back into
that kind of shell emotionally. Even though what he does
in all of the series – a lot of the actions are obviously morally and completely at odds with
what any of us would agree with, that’s why people are fascinated
by him, because we see in him a magnified version of what
all humans are like. And his goal, ultimately, you know,
to protect his family – people can identify with that. I feel incredibly privileged to be
a part of a show that has incrementally improved
season upon season. And I’m very proud that
we’ve managed to do that, you know?

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