Shooting Peaky Blinders' Final Season Without the Late Helen McCrory Was 'Very Strange,' Says Cillian Murphy

Peaky Blinders McCrory

Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy has opened up about filming the final season of the BBC One series (which streams Stateside on Netflix) without Helen McCrory, who died last April at age 52.

It was almost two years ago when Peaky Blinders was set to start filming its farewell run, but the COVID pandemic put a quick, and lengthy, stop to that. By the time the series got the OK to proceed with production, it became apparent that McCrory — who since Day 1 had played Aunt Polly to Murphy’s Tommy Shelby (and is the wife of actor Damian Lewis) — had been suffering with breast cancer and would not be able to participate. As such, scripts had to be rewritten before starting production.

Once cameras eventually did start rolling, “We were just reeling throughout the whole thing,” Murphy shared with Esquire. “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.

“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,” Murphy noted. “But she was so private and so f–king brave and courageous.”

“I still can’t believe she’s not here. It doesn’t make sense,” Murphy added. “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.”

Murphy didn’t detail much about the final season, other than to say the mood is “Dark as f–k.” And while series boss Steven Knight claims that his planned follow-up movie will get underway “in the next 18 months to two years,” Murphy was less bullish.

“I’m open to ideas,” he said. “I think [Steven] wants to, but I haven’t read anything.”

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