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Cillian Murphy Surprised by Number of Cigarettes Smoked in ‘Peaky Blinders’

Key Points:

  • Cillian Murphy smoked 3,000 herbal cigarettes per season as Tommy Shelby.
  • Despite health risks, herbal cigarettes were used for historical accuracy.
  • Murphy’s intense roles as a smoker led him to seek non-smoking characters.

Cillian Murphy, known for his portrayal of Tommy Shelby in the hit series ‘Peaky Blinders’, recently expressed his astonishment at the sheer number of cigarettes smoked during filming. Despite not being a smoker in real life, Murphy’s commitment to his character led him to consume an alarming number of herbal cigarettes throughout the show’s run, raising questions about the physical demands of his role and the pursuit of authenticity in period dramas.

How Many Cigarettes Did Cillian Murphy Smoke in Peaky Blinders?

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders
Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders

Cillian Murphy’s revelation that he smoked approximately 3,000 herbal cigarettes per season of ‘Peaky Blinders’ has shed light on the intense physical requirements of his role. With six seasons completed, this amounts to a staggering 18,000 cigarettes over the course of the series. The actor’s dedication to portraying the chain-smoking Tommy Shelby accurately meant that he was rarely seen without a cigarette, reflecting the prevalent smoking culture of 1920s Birmingham.

“I’ve smoked so many fake cigarettes for Peaky and this. My next character will not be a smoker. They can’t be good for you. Even herbal cigarettes have health warnings now.” via The Guardian

The show’s prop team utilized herbal cigarettes, a common substitute in film and television productions, to mitigate the health risks associated with tobacco. However, even these alternatives are not entirely harmless, with studies indicating potential long-term health issues. Murphy humorously referred to the herbal cigarettes as his “five a day,” highlighting the frequency of their use on set.

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What’s Next for Cillian Murphy After Playing Smokers?

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

Following his roles in ‘Peaky Blinders’ and the biopic ‘Oppenheimer’, where he portrayed another notorious smoker, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Murphy has expressed a strong desire to move away from characters with smoking habits. The physical toll of these intense portrayals has led the actor to seek out non-smoking roles for his future projects.

READ MORE: Cillian Murphy Dislikes His ‘Peaky Blinders’ Haircut

Murphy’s experiences filming ‘Oppenheimer’ further underscored the demanding nature of his craft. The actor described the production as a relentless process, requiring significant weight loss and constant smoking to authentically embody the historical figure. This immersive approach, while yielding critically acclaimed performances, has prompted Murphy to reevaluate the types of roles he chooses.

All six seasons of ‘Peaky Blinders’ are available for streaming on Netflix.

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