Jason Statham Was Actually The First Choice To Play Thomas Shelby
— Updated on 12 October 2022

Jason Statham Was Actually The First Choice To Play Thomas Shelby

— Updated on 12 October 2022
Garry Lu
WORDS BY
Garry Lu

Peaky Blinders creator, Steven Knight, has just revealed that Jason Statham was his first choice to portray Thomas Shelby – not Cillian Murphy.

“I met them both in LA to talk about the role and opted for Jason,” Knight told Esquire.

“One of the reasons was because physically, in the room, Jason is Jason. Cillian, when you meet him, isn’t Tommy, obviously. But I was stupid enough not to understand that.”

RELATED: ‘Peaky Blinders’ Creator’s New Boxing Drama Starring Stephen Graham

As it so happens, Knight’s last-minute decision to (correctly) go with Murphy all came down to some simple clarification via text message. One that had instantly changed his mind.

“He sent me a text saying, ‘Remember, I’m an actor.’ Which is absolutely the thing, because he can transform himself. If you meet him in the street he is a totally different human being.”

I think we can all agree that a bullet was collectively dodged. Not to bag on old mate Statham, or anything… like we’ve partially done so while investigating why the man is such a don despite the overall quality of his film output.

Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby isn’t just Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby. The man is Thomas Shelby. The man is Peaky Blinders. Jason Statham in Peaky Blinders, on the other hand, would have been a completely different animal. One that I’m not sure we would have treated the same.

The Peaky Blinders movie is currently in pre-production. Expect it sometime in 2024.

Garry Lu
WORDS by
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]