Adrien Brody is Peaky Blin­ders’ new Ital­ian-amer­i­can an­tag­o­nist. Just don’t call him a gang­ster

Empire (Australasia) - - Preview - WORDS OWEN WIL­LIAMS

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.


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).

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