BY ORDER OF THE PEAKY BLINDERS
London, United Kingdom - 2023
This photograph is an unapologetic nod to Steven Knight’s hugely popular 1920s British gangster series Peaky Blinders. With satanic chimneys belching smoke and cobbles awash with industrial grime, the period drama brought hellish industrial UK into our living rooms but did it with an admirable swagger and aesthetic genius. The anomaly of Peaky Blinders is that cinematography made hell look attractive.
Audiences around the world found themselves engaged by a new street subculture and sympathising with men with totally disposable moral fibre. Birmingham in the UK became known around the world for what it was portrayed to be like 100 years ago rather than what it is like now. That’s quite a trick.
My creative leaning was to twist the narrative a little. Cillian Murphy owned every scene in the series with a mesmerising intensity, but what if the leader of the gang was a woman? Most of the women in the series were depicted either as objects of lust or familial loyalty rather than necessarily agents of their own destiny. They faded into the scenery as often happens in mobster shows.
In my mindset there was only one girl to do this job - the irrepressible force of nature that is Cara Delevingne. She owns this scene, just as Cillian did in the series, and that says it all. She is a national treasure and we are lucky to work with her as often as we do. As I often say to those that ask, “It’s her eyes”.
There was a big cast that day and everyone played their role. It only takes one person to kill the vibe and that evening everyone did a grand Peaky Blinders job. Maybe some of my extras have missed their vocation in life.