Rats from a sinking ship Cillian Murphy opens up on move back to Ireland amid Brexit

Peaky Blinders: BBC release trailer for final series

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Cork native Cillian Murphy, 45, has come a long way since he made his impressive debut on stage all those years ago, becoming one of the countries most famous movie and TV stars having worked with some of the great names of Hollywood such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale and Rachel McAdams. After his career took off, he moved to London where he began to land bigger roles but he couldn’t stay away from his Irish roots.

It was the right time to come back

Cillian Murphy

In 2015 Murphy moved back to Ireland, just as the Brexit referendum was gaining momentum.

But he insisted the decision to return was purely the “right time” for him and his family.

Of whether it was influenced by Brexit, he told Esquire UK magazine in a new interview: “It wasn’t informed by that, but we felt like rats from a sinking ship, a little bit. It was the right time to come back.”

He previously revealed he, wife Yvonne and their two children wanted to be “closer to family”.

“The kids are of a certain age. I think if you live in a world capital – like New York or London or wherever – it’s excellent and exciting and stimulating in your 20s and 30s,” he told The Irish Times last year.

“Then there’s a point where the things that were excellent and stimulating are now a bit sort of tedious and draining.

“You want something quieter and that’s what we did.”

The actor keeps his personal life out of the public eye, once admitting “the less that people know about me the better I can portray other people”.

And that’s what fans love him for, his ability to transform into a character that people connect and resonate with for many different reasons.

And as we gear up for the highly-anticipated last ever series of Peaky Blinders, Murphy admitted how filming during Covid was less than easy.

“It wasn’t a very pleasant shooting experience,” he continued to tell Esquire UK.

“For loads of different reasons.”

If delays and constant set-backs for the production weren’t already testing enough, nothing could compare to the tragic loss of Helen McCrory, who played Aunt Polly in the BBC drama.

Battling breast cancer, she was unable to participate in season six and sadly passed away during filming in April 2021.

“We were just reeling throughout the whole thing,” Murphy recalled.

“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.

“But she was so private and so f*****g brave and courageous. She was inspirational. People throw that word around, but she genuinely was.”

He continued to gush over the “magnificent person” he was proud to call a close friend.

“Her values, the way she dealt with her kids and Damian [Lewis, the actor, and McCrory’s husband of 14 years]… she cares about everybody,” he smiled.

“She’s really funny and really cool, and she had this real warmth. She really cared. It’s just… I still can’t believe she’s not here.

“It doesn’t make sense. 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.”

The Spring 2022 issue of Esquire UK is on sale from tomorrow.

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