OK! (UK)




Landing the part of Ada Shelby in the first series of Peaky Blinders was Sophie Rundle’s big break and now, five series in, the actress is highly sought after, with roles in both last year’s hit Bodyguard and, more recently, opposite Suranne Jones in Gentleman Jack.

‘I’ve been busy

– I’ve been paying that mortgage!’ the refreshing­ly downto-earth actress tells

OK! when we meet.

Away from the camera, Sophie, 31, lives in London with her actor and writer fiancé Matt Stokoe,

30. The couple met on the set of period drama Jamestown

and got engaged earlier this summer.

However, Sophie has hinted she’ll shun a typical wedding, saying ‘Everyone expects you to be desperate to be a princess for the day… that’s really not my scene.’

Here Sophie chats ‘pinch-me’ moments, feeling embarrasse­d about her choice of career and why women run the show…

Was it a leap going from Gentleman

Jack back to Peaky Blinders?

I finished Gentleman Jack on the Friday and was filming Peaky Blinders on the Sunday. It’s so different. I was really hammy in the first couple of scenes, as I was trying to find my range. Sweet Ann Walker in Gentleman Jack to Ada Shelby! I was like, give me some lipstick, a gun and a cigarette [laughs].

Are there any similariti­es between the characters?

Ada would very clearly never let anyone f*** with her and I suppose Ann surprised everyone by having a real backbone by the end of the series, so perhaps that’s the one similarity – that’s probably about it. You’ve said you feel quite embarrasse­d telling people what you do for a living. Do you still feel like that? I’m mortified! I feel like such a lucky kid saying: ‘I’m an actor.’ It does seem like an absurd job for a 31 year old. When I was 15 saying I wanted to do it, it made sense!

Do you ever have pinch-me moments?

All the time! When I think back to being a kid who’s like ‘I want to be an actor’ and then you’re on set with these amazing, creative people. There’s so much talent buzzing around and I think, I can’t believe I get to be here. What’s the dynamic like on set this year with the likes of Sam Claflin joining? It’s so exciting that people want to come and be a part of it. And total movie stars! I was on set sitting next to Sam and Cillian – there were just cheekbones everywhere [laughs].

Do you think the Peaky women are the true powerhouse­s of the show? Absolutely, although ‘strong women’ does feel like a modern buzz phrase and implies typically women aren’t strong. I don’t know any women who are weak, boring, meek or mild. In a typical family dynamic, women run the show!

Why do you think Peaky Blinders is so popular?

It’s just so cool! It’s mythologis­ed British history in a way we’re a bit shy about doing. The Americans do it well, they take their history and make it rock and roll, and this show does that. It’s funny, cool and not ashamed to be a bit heightened. People love it all over the world. I was in a pub the other day and there was a huge Peaky Blinders stag do going on. They had no idea I was there – I snuck out!

 ??  ?? Asked about the show’s popularity, Sophie says: ‘It’s just so cool!’ Right: Acting is ‘an absurd job’ for a 31 year old, says Sophie. Below left: With fiancé Matt Stokoe
Asked about the show’s popularity, Sophie says: ‘It’s just so cool!’ Right: Acting is ‘an absurd job’ for a 31 year old, says Sophie. Below left: With fiancé Matt Stokoe
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