'Peaky Blinders' Creator Recalls How Jason Statham Lost Starring Role to Cillian Murphy

In a new interview, Steven Knight admits that he initially set his sight on having the 'Mechanic: Resurrection' star lead the cast as brutal Birmingham crime boss Tommy Shelby.

AceShowbiz - "Peaky Blinders" creator Steven Knight had his sights set on Jason Statham to lead the cast of his hit series before Cillian Murphy forced him to reconsider.

The writer and director met both actors in Los Angeles and came away from the get togethers convinced Statham was the man to play brutal Birmingham, England, crime boss Tommy Shelby.

He tells Esquire, "One of the reasons was because physically, in the room, Jason is Jason."

But Murphy helped to change his mind with a text, which read simply: "Remember, I'm an actor."

"Cillian, when you meet him, isn't Tommy, obviously, but I was stupid enough not to understand that," Knight adds. "He can transform himself. If you meet him in the street he is a totally different human being."

Production on the sixth season of "Peaky Blinders" was set to start as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the film industry in the U.K.

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