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Ex-New York mafia boss says Cillian Murphy perfect ‘mob guy’ in Peaky Blinders role

Michael Franzese claims to have been making around $8m (€7.6m) per week at the height of his mob career
Michael Franzese said Cillian Murphy's portrayal of Thomas Shelby was what a "real mob guy should be"

Michael Franzese said Cillian Murphy's portrayal of Thomas Shelby was what a "real mob guy should be"

Cillian Murphy in his Peaky Blinders role as Tommy Shelby

Cillian Murphy in his Peaky Blinders role as Tommy Shelby

Sunday World

An ex-mafia mob boss has praised Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of the leader of the Peaky Blinders gang, Thomas Shelby, as “what a real mob guy should be”.

Michael Franzese is the son of Sonny Franzese, another mob boss who was part of the Colombo crime family in the New York area.

Michael was once listed as number 18 in Fortune magazine’s Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses, and claims to have been making around $8m (€7.6m) per week at the height of his career.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1986 for conspiracy but was rearrested in 1991 for breaching parole.

He became a born again Christian during his second stint in jail and now works as a motivational speaker and writer.

Cillian Murphy in his Peaky Blinders role as Tommy Shelby

Cillian Murphy in his Peaky Blinders role as Tommy Shelby

Speaking on his podcast, the former mobster said of Murphy’s performance of Tommy Shelby: “I just love his demeanour…

“He doesn’t get crazy, he doesn’t fly off the handle…”

Franzese said it was Murphy’s understated style of acting in the cult show which won him over.

“He tries to be low key, he’s not ostentatious,” said the New Yorker.

He added: “He’s kind of what a real mob guy should be, y’know, he really plays the role well.”

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