Billy Grade, of the popular television show Peaky Blinders, sat down with us to talk about his first day on set filming season 3 of the hit series in Liverpool, England. The British actor revealed what it was like working with Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill and gave us some insight into how he developed his character of Billy Grade, who’s new to Peaky Blinders this season.
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Who Is Emmett J. Scanlan
Emmett J. Scanlan is an Irish actor born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. He is well known for his role as Red Fisher in BBC One’s The Fall. On film, he is best known for his roles as Fergus in Angelina Jolie’s In The Land Of Blood And Honey and Dickey O’Reilly in Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins. Most recently he can be seen playing Cardinal Thomas Woolsey opposite Ethan Hawke and Rachel Weisz in Ridley Scott’s feature film The Alienist. Based on The Alienist: A Novel by Caleb Carr published by Penguin Random House LLC.
Emmett J. Scanlan As Billy Grade
Today was my first day on set with #CillianMurphy and #SamuelLJackson. This show is something else! I’m so excited to be working alongside these guys, not to mention all the other talented actors and crew members who are making Peaky Blinders a reality for me.
It felt like everyone here was at one with each other and it’s a great feeling being welcomed into such an environment. The directors are very hands off for now – they’re just letting us get used to our characters and surroundings before filming begins properly in September.
On acting with Tom Hardy
Today was a very special day. For me, it marked my first day on set filming for season four of Peaky Blinders! Having grown up in Liverpool and being a massive fan since season one, to be given an opportunity to join such an incredible cast is one I could never have dreamed possible. It’s hard to put into words what it’s like walking onto a set like that for your first time; mind-blowing would be putting it lightly. From everything from having your hair and makeup done (myself included) by some of England’s best beauty artists to being taken through scenes with experienced directors; I tried my best not to look too star struck as everyone around me was incredibly humble.
On working with Cillian Murphy
My favorite thing about Cillian is that he’s a true actor. He’s not out there to play a character; he is his character and it shows in everything he does. In fact, I actually didn’t meet him until my first day filming as Billy Grade. All of our scenes were together so I was able to see his performance first hand and we both helped each other nail every single one of them. On set we just talked about our kids because we had nothing else in common but we found out later that our wives have known each other for years and are friends, which kind of feels like destiny now.
On shooting in Liverpool
I’ve never been to Liverpool before, so it’s a new experience for me. But I think it will be wonderful, because everybody is friendly and great. We were all laughing yesterday when we came off set together; we were just like one big family already. Steven [Knight] has such a clear vision of what he wants that I think we’re going to have a great time doing it.
On being a part of an amazing show
Billy Grades is a real life person; A film actor and gentleman in Birmingham, he played billy in The Commuter. He didn’t have anything to do with peaky blinders, however upon seeing that Emmett J Scanlan was going to play Billy Grades in season 5 he said: Oh my God! It’s a mad world isn’t it? It really is unbelievable but quite brilliant at the same time. I think people will love it and I’m just excited to see what they think.
On real life Billy Grades in Birmingham
On my first day, I was filming a scene in which my character gets beaten up by Cillian Murphy’s character. It was important that we shot it in an authentic way, because my reaction would be used as a reference for other actors who were going to play other roles in that scene later. As soon as it started, there was so much adrenaline flowing through me, and I just went straight into character. I felt a bit bad afterward when they asked me if I was okay (I wasn’t hurt at all), but looking back now, it might have been nice to see how long I could keep up with them! That would have made for a very entertaining blooper reel…or training video.