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(Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

A surprising new casting announcement was made yesterday (March 23) to coincide with the beginning of filming for the fourth season of Peaky Blinders.

Deadline reports that Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody will join series regulars Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy in the BBC’s popular gangster drama. And judging from this picture posted yesterday on the show’s official Instagram, he’s already present and correct on set:

Adrien himself then retweeted the pic, saying he was “very excited” to “come and play,” calling the cast an “immensely talented gang.”

So what does all this mean? Will a new American gang be setting up store on the mean streets of Birmingham? Or will Adrien be rolling out his best Brummie accent?

The Hollywood star is, of course, a pretty big deal. Since becoming the youngest recipient of the Best Actor Oscar following his performance in Roman Polanski‘s war drama The Pianist (2002), Adrien works regularly with director Wes Anderson on films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, and in 2014 he turned up on the small screen in Houdini as the famous illusionist and escape artist himself.

What role he’ll play is being kept under wraps, but series creator Steven Knight is clearly pleased by the casting: “He genuinely was the actor in my head when I wrote the part. I’m sure he will be a formidable presence in the world of the Peaky Blinders.”

We do know a little bit more about the plot in the new season, however. Last time we saw the Shelby family, they’d risen in the social ranks from humble beginnings to high society, encountering all the problems that come with greater power and status.

Season four will begin where the third left off, with Tommy Shelby (Murphy) receiving a mysterious letter on Christmas Eve, which sparks concerns that the Peaky Blinders gang is in mortal danger. Fleeing his country home, he returns to Birmingham in a desperate fight for survival.

Photos emerged from the set earlier this week, showing stars Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson, Helen McCrory, and Joe Cole shooting on streets of derelict houses in Liverpool, England:

https://twitter.com/JessBellerin/status/843951303411863552

The streets themselves have been dressed to look like 1920s Birmingham, complete with old advertising boards, vintage cars, and the removal of yellow street lines.

So far there’s been no sign of Tom Hardy, but we do at least know he’ll definitely be returning as rival gang leader Alfie Solomons.

Can you see Tom and Cillian going toe-to-toe with Adrien? 

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.