Cillian Murphy Describes What Filming Peaky Blinders Was Like Without Helen McCrory
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Cillian Murphy has opened up about filming Peaky Blinders without the late Helen McCrory.
McCrory, who played Polly Gray since the start of the series, as well as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise, passed away in April last year 'after an heroic battle with cancer', her husband Damian Lewis wrote.
The sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders has seen a number of delays since beginning production in January last year, but it's due to arrive on BBC One this month, with Tom Hardy returning as Alfie Solomons.
In a new interview with Esquire ahead of the 'dark as f*ck' season hitting our screens, Murphy discussed the weeks prior to filming and his concerns, alongside McCrory, about the pandemic.
'I do remember both myself and Helen calling the producers and saying, ‘Guys, surely we can’t do this?' They were saying, ‘Well, we’re still waiting to see.’ And then, eventually, they called it,' he said.
In January 2021, filming then recommenced in Manchester. 'It wasn’t a very pleasant shooting experience, for loads of different reasons,' he recalled, primarily citing McCrory's ill health. While it wasn't known publicly, the star was struggling and it became apparent she wouldn't able to participate. Three months later, the production was informed of her death.
'We were just reeling throughout the whole thing. She was a dear, dear pal and she was the beating heart of that show, so it felt very strange being on set without her,' Murphy said.
'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. But she was so private and so f*cking brave and courageous.
'She was inspirational. People throw that word around, but she genuinely was. Her values, the way she dealt with her kids and Damian. She cares about everybody. She’s really funny and really cool, and she had this real warmth.
'She really cared. It’s just... 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. But she was magnificent. She was an absolutely magnificent person.'
Lewis recently spoke about McCrory during an evening of poetry dedicated to her at the National Theatre, describing her as 'one person whose thunder would absolutely not be stolen'.
Peaky Blinders season six will premiere on BBC One this month, but an exact date hasn't been confirmed.
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