Singing and dancing Tommy Shelbys? It could happen. Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is mulling an extension of the BBC Two/Netflix drama as a West End musical. While it’s early days, Knight tells me he has been approached by more than one “very, very respectable” party interested in helping bring the story of the Birmingham clan to the stage.
“Never say never,” says Knight, who adds, “I always like doing different things.” The multi-hyphenate isn’t kidding. Along with Peaky currently shooting season 4, he also has FX/BBC drama Taboo coming back for a second season and continues to write and direct features for Hollywood. He penned the upcoming Jessica Chastain-starrer Woman Walks Ahead which IM Global is handling, and this summer will helm Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey in Serenity, also with IM Global.
As for the Peaky musical, Knight says there are certain elements of the series that lend themselves to “a Les Miz sort of thing,” including the “beautiful ’20s clothes” (Peaky has its own commercial clothing line made by Garrison Tailors). Knight adds, “and music has always been a factor.”
The Caryn Mandabach Productions/Tiger Aspect period crime saga notably uses contemporary music, with big-name artists offering their work for the show. Among the acts whose music has featured are Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The White Stripes, Radiohead, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie who was a big fan.
As it’s early days, there is no word on what music would be used, but Knight says a stage production wouldn’t feature the current series’ cast. Star Cillian Murphy echoes that, telling me, “That’s another iteration that does not involve me. But it’s a mad enough idea that I’m sure it could be amazing. That’s what’s so brilliant about Steve is that he’s constantly coming up with these ideas. He’s so much more than a writer. He’s just an all around entrepreneur, or polymath. He’s just an extraordinary individual.”
Caryn Mandabach Productions’ Jamie Glazebrook, an exec producer on Peaky, says he thinks a musical “is a fantastic idea because it kind of enhances the whole world in a way that’s quite unexpected — but also totally appropriate because music is so close to it and there’s quite an operatic approach to the way they make it. People come on and have their speeches and sing their arias in a sense.”
Knight recently told me, “If more than one person approaches you who is very, very respectable, then you think maybe…”
On television, Peaky‘s Season 4 has added Oscar winner Adrien Brody, Game Of Thrones‘ Aidan Gillen, Happy Valley‘s Charlie Murphy, and will see the return of Charlotte Riley as May Carleton. It will kick off when Tommy receives a mysterious letter on Christmas Eve and realizes the Peaky Blinders are in danger of annihilation. As the enemy closes in, he flees his country house and returns to the streets of Small Heath, Birmingham where a desperate fight for survival begins. An air date is yet to be confirmed.