Cillian Murphy: ‘I was in awe of how Helen McCrory lived her life’

Cillian Murphy: ‘I was in awe of how Helen McCrory lived her life’May 28, 2021

The star of Peaky Blinders on his late colleague, how he convinced the producers to cast him rather than Jason Statham as Tommy Shelby – and returning to the monster-movie genre in A Quiet Place Part II

Cillian Murphy, star of the new horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II, is something to behold: X-ray eyes at once penetrating and ethereally blue, cheekbones so pronounced you could stretch out and go to sleep on them. Unfortunately, the beholding will have to wait. We have barely exchanged greetings over Zoom when his voice breaks up, the screen freezes and the room falls silent. A quiet place, indeed.

We switch to phones. We can do this, I tell him. “I have faith,” he replies, in a soothing Cork accent that compensates for the lack of visuals. Murphy’s gift for intensity has made him a natural fit for characters damaged (Dunkirk, The Edge of Love) or outright villainous (Batman Begins, Red Eye), but today he is quick to laugh and keen to talk. He is speaking from a flat in Manchester, where he is staying while he shoots the sixth and final series of Peaky Blinders. That stylish crime drama, which rocketed from BBC Two cult success to global phenomenon, revolves around a 1920s Birmingham gang led by Murphy as the vicious Tommy Shelby. With his eyes, looks could kill – although he keeps razor blades in the brim of his cap, just in case.

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