Adrien Brody is Peaky Blinders’ new Italian-american antagonist. Just don’t call him a gangster
LIKE ITS MORALLY dubious protagonist Tommy Shelby (as played by Cillian Murphy), Peaky Blinders has grown from humble beginnings to become a major international player. Steven Knight’s intricate, violent between-the-wars Brum-gangster saga grew its audience exponentially through far-and-wide BBC and Netflix distribution. And as it enters its fourth, penultimate season, it’s raising its already high stakes by introducing a major new antagonist in Adrien Brody’s Luca Changretta. “These days I have the luxury of being patient, and I only work on things that inspire me,” Brody tells Empire.
“Peaky Blinders was absolutely one of those.”
The last we saw of the Shelby family and the Peaky gang, they’d just been gathered together for a meeting with Tommy, only for him to reveal the police were on site to cart them all away. Picking up sometime later — the usual narrative ellipsis between series is two years — Series 4 finds the family on fractious interpersonal form, until a mysterious letter warns of an incoming threat, sending them back to the streets of Birmingham.
Aidan Gillen is another incomer, as Shelby’s uneasy new ally, the chrysophilist gypsy hardcase Aberama Gold. Changretta, meanwhile, is the interloper muscling in on the Shelby action: an Italian-american in a trilby and a sharp suit. The iconography seems clear but, “I wouldn’t lean too hard on the ‘Mafia’ angle,” Brody wryly warns Empire, preferring to label Changretta “just a very successful businessman who happens to share a lot of interesting parallels of aspiration and vision with Cillian’s character. That was very intriguing to me. Maybe in other circumstances they’d be good friends.” Given the photographic evidence, however, he will admit to a Tommy Gun being a tool of his trade. “I’ve had a lot of fun with Thompsons before,” he grins. “We rattled off a lot of them in King Kong. It’s great to grow up and still be able to play cops and robbers.”
One of the perks of Series 4 and 5 having been commissioned together is that, for the first time, it’s allowed Knight to seed elements for guaranteed future instalments. Gold and his boxing champion son Bonnie (Jack Rowan) will continue into 2018’s final episodes. Brody, too, says he’d “happily indulge in a bit more”, although he’s cagey as to whether it’ll be his guns blazing at the Shelbys’ final showdown. What’s certain is that when Knight calls, it’s an offer you can’t refuse.
PEAKY BLINDERS S4 IS COMING SOON TO BBC FIRST
Here: Adrien Brody playing a Blinder as new character Luca Changretta. Below: Director David Caffrey with Cillian Murphy on set. Watch what you say, Cillian... Bottom: Further newbies Jack Rowan (as Bonnie Gold) and Aidan Gillen (as Aberama Gold).