Cillian Murphy, the man behind the legendary role of Thomas Shelby on Netflix’s Peaky Blinders, has recently revealed the filming experience for the final season that is scheduled to premiere in early 2022. He revealed how it was “very strange” filming without his dear friend Helen McCrory, who starred as Polly Gray in Steven Knight’s hit series before succumbing to a secret and exhausting battle with cancer.
Murphy had previously penned a heartfelt tribute to the late actress, recalling their close friendship and her sheer brilliance as an actor who had a commanding presence and the ability to effortlessly ease into any role assigned to her.
In an interview with Esquire, Murphy revealed how the cast was “just reeling through the whole thing.” Her absence left a gaping ache in the show as his “dear, dear pal” was the “beating heart of the show.”
“It felt very strange being on set without her,” said Murphy.
The shooting schedule for the final season was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. McCrory tragically passed away during the hiatus, unable to fill in her role as Polly. Murphy could not help but lament the same. “The difficult thing to comprehend is that, if it wasn’t for COVID, there would be a whole other version of this show with Helen in it,” he said.
Murphy is indeed quite heartbroken and still cannot come to terms with her absence. Calling her an “absolutely magnificent person” who was “so private and so fucking brave and courageous”, “inspirational”, “really funny and really cool” with “real warmth”, he said, “I still can’t believe she’s not here. It doesn’t make sense. I’ve never lost anyone like that – who was young and a friend. It was very confusing.”
He concluded by saying how Knight has tried his best to “keep her very, very present” as a tribute to the actress.
Peaky Blinders season six will see Murphy making a return alongside Paul Anderson, Finn Cole, Sophie Rundle and Aimee-Ffion Edwards, among others.