Why Cillian Murphy Gave Up Vegetarianism For Peaky Blinders

Whether you're a "Peaky Blinders" fan, a lover of "Oppenheimer," or you know Cillian Murphy better from one of his other roles, we can all agree on one thing. Murphy puts his all into the characters he plays. So, it's no surprise that Murphy changed his lifestyle to bring his "Peaky Blinders" character, Thomas Shelby, to life. Yet, Murphy went a bit further than others might to transform into the gang leader. He gave up over a decade of vegetarianism.

There are plenty of reasons why people choose to start a vegetarian diet. From questions about the ethics of eating meat to the health benefits of giving it up, many find a vegetarian diet to be the best fit for them. However, Murphy's reasoning was unusual. "I was vegetarian for about 15 years. But it was never a moral decision. It was more that I was worried about getting mad cow disease," Murphy told MR PORTER in a 2017 interview. While rare, mad cow disease, also known as BSE, has no cure, and the best way to prevent it is to avoid eating beef. 

Just as there are different reasons to avoid eating meat, there are also several reasons why former vegetarians give it up. As with his reason for becoming a vegetarian, Murphy's reasoning for giving it up is surprising, as well.

Murphy's trainer recommended adding meat to his diet

Cillian Murphy quit vegetarianism after 15 years to look the part of his "Peaky Blinders" character. "For the first series of 'Peaky Blinders,' they were anxious that I shouldn't look like a skinny Irish fella," he explained to MR PORTER, adding, "My trainer recommended meat."

Building muscle on a vegetarian or vegan diet is simple and attainable. This is much more widely acknowledged than it once was. Still, putting meat back on the menu was exactly what Murphy needed to get into his role. As for the first meat he tried after his long hiatus? "Actually, it was a venison steak," Murphy said. He took the plunge back into the world of carnivorism at his wife's 40th birthday party. "A few cocktails had been had before dinner. When the waiter asked if I'd like the fish or the venison, I hesitated and he said, 'Have the venison.' He was right. It was extraordinary. They reared their own deer on the property." That sounds like the perfect way to start a new diet.