Sam Neill calls 'Peaky Blinders' sexual assault scene 'deeply disturbing' and says it was the 'most horrible to film'

Sam Neill calls 'Peaky Blinders' sexual assault scene 'deeply disturbing' and says it was the 'most horrible to film'
  • 'Peaky Blinders' star Sam Neill recalled filming the 'deeply disturbing' rape scene in season two.

  • The actor's character, Major Campbell, attacks Polly Grey who was played by Helen McCrory.

  • Neill said his friendship and trust with McCrory helped make the scene less awkward to film.

Sam Neill has had a hugely impressive career since he first started acting in 1975, starring in a number of iconic movies like "The Omen III," "Jurassic Park," and "Event Horizon." But the star is also known for his work on the screen, including the critically acclaimed British crime drama, "Peaky Blinders."

He plays the cruel government agent, Major Campbell, who is in charge of tracking down a shipment of stolen guns in Birmingham and bringing the Peaky Blinders gang to justice for their long list of crimes.

The series never shied away from showing brutal violence on screen, and an infamous scene in season two sees Campbell rape Polly Gray (Helen McCrory) in exchange for freeing her son from prison.

Neill recalled what it was like having to film the episode in his recently released memoir, "Did I Ever Tell You This?"

He explained: "Easily the most difficult bed scene I've ever done was in 'Peaky Blinders.' My character, the hideous Major Campbell, rapes Aunt Polly, played by Helen McCrory. It is deeply disturbing, and I was anxious about how we would go."

Surprisingly, the star wrote that he and McCrory used humor to get through the difficult scene, explaining that they found the same things funny.

"For one thing, this was acting out a situation, a crime, utterly beyond my imagination. By the time we shot this, I knew [co-star] Helen very well. We found the same things funny, I respected her deeply, and I think she felt the same about me. We spent a whole morning shooting this horrible, horrible scene."

He added: "As it turned out, we did very well indeed. The more hideous the behavior, the more hilarity. The worse I was, the more we laughed. The trust was there, which allowed us to go to the extremes."

Helen McCrory sadly passed away in 2021 from cancer, and Neill remembered her as "one of the greatest people I've ever worked with. A grand actress and a fine person."

The actor also touched on what it's been like filming bed scenes over the years, and said he's "fairly confident" that he's never felt too "uncomfortable" during filming.

Neill said: "I'm sure I sound like the dinosaur I am but after forty years plus of such things, I can put my hand over my heart and say I am confident that none of us, me and whoever else was in bed, has ever been uncomfortable in a bed scene. It's just been a matter of behaving like a civilised human being, making sure that you're friends, and getting through the day as best you can."

He went on to say that he always checks in with his scene partner to make sure they're okay with whatever's happening in the script, and if they're okay with the crew being on set.

"I always make sure that the person I'm playing with is okay with the crew around, with what direction we are being given and so on. We collaborate," Neill said. "The whole business is mortifying for everybody, and the more you can take the curse off it with humour, the better."

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) or visit its website to receive confidential support.

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