Cillian moved in with gypsies to prepare for new TV role
ACTOR Cillian Murphy has told how he lived with Romany gypsies to perfect his new TV role as an impoverished inner-city mob boss.
The Cork actor plays gangster Tommy Shelby in upcoming BBC period drama series 'Peaky Blinders', set in the lawless slums of Birmingham in 1919.
And the 37-year-old Hollywood star has revealed he went to great lengths to get into character, even hanging out with gypsies to learn what it was like to be poor.
He said: "Steve Knight, the creator of the show, took me to Birmingham, where he's from, to meet his buddies so I could record their accents. I spent time with Romany gypsies. I learnt about extreme poverty.
"A revolution was taking place in the city. At the same time, these young men were returning from the war (WWI), damaged. They were spat back into society and expected somehow to get on with their lives."
The new drama, which kicks off on BBC2 next Thursday, sees Murphy land his first major television role as the leader of the Peaky Blinders, a vicious criminal gang who take their name from the razor blades sewn into the peaks of their caps.
And despite his impressive film CV, having starred in hit movies like 'The Dark Knight', 'Inception' and Ken Loach's 2006 Palme d'Or winner 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley', the actor said television gave him more scope to develop his character. He told the 'TV Times': "You can sense when there's quality happening in a certain medium. You see a lot of actors migrating to telly because of that broad canvas. And in 'Peaky Blinders', there's so much to explore and you can go so deep."
Closer to home, the father-of-two says he loves going back home to Ireland, although he said he's noticed the effects of the downturn.
He said: "My folks, who are teachers, have a place in the country. I like to go there with my family to disappear.
"Most of my pals are doing okay, but I know of people who are moving back in with their parents.
"Irish people are pretty resilient – we've had to be – but I'm disappointed Irish people don't protest more."
Murphy, who is a talented musician, also revealed he uses the ukelele for unwinding after a day on set, adding: "I love playing the ukelele in a hotel room. It's the only time I can pretend I'm a rock star."