Sophie Rundle hits her peak as Ada Shelby in 'Peaky Blinders'
Rundle started off her career with roles that were mostly inclined towards comedy, but the actress soon made her way to playing more complex characters.
Sophie Rundle struggled quite a lot to acquire the Birmingham accent for her character Ada Shelby on BBC One's 'Peaky Blinders'. Coming from creator Steven Knight, Ada Shelby is the only girl child of the notorious Shelby family better known as the infamous Peaky Blinders.
Rundle's Ada is not a regular 20th-century woman who was made to stay indoors. Instead, as we have seen over the course of the show, she is a communist who does not abide by her family's values but at the same time would kill anyone who tries to harm her three brothers, Thomas (Cillian Murphy), Arthur (Paul Anderson), and John Shelby (Joe Cole).
Before playing this ravishingly strong character Rundle had her own set of experiences with comedy, beginning with the British horror-comedy film 'Small Town Folk' in 2007 where she acted alongside Warwick Davis. Although the movie didn't work well in the box office and wasn't well-received by the critics, Rundle's career managed to take a smooth turn.
After a small role in ITV's four-part television miniseries period drama, 'Titanic', the English actress grabbed the audience with her bold performance as Labia in Showtime's 2011 series, 'Episodes'. As Labia, Rundle had to act as an obsessive fan of Matt LeBlanc who was the central character on the show.
As hilarious as her character would get, even in her brief guest appearances in the first two seasons of the show, Rundle's performance was confirmation she would soon pick up extremely dynamic characters, like Ada. Although both characters are extremely different in nature, they have one thing in common. Ada and Labia would do anything for love, even if that meant choking the life out of the people they love.
Labia was introduced as an eight-year-old who was smitten by the 'F.R.I.E.N.D.S' actor, and when she grows up, she turns into a controlling girlfriend whom Matt LeBlanc would love to chase out of the kitchen even though she is standing there naked, baking cookies for him.
Rundle's performance of the bold yet mindless Labia called for attention, and not only did Rundle's beauty demand to be noticed, Matt LeBlanc himself praised the actress for her talent. Watch LeBlanc speak about his co-star below:
However, this was perhaps the last time Rundle actually let her hair down and played around with comedies, since after this, she mostly appeared in roles that were more sensible in nature. In 2012, she took up a role on ITV's mystery drama miniseries, set in 1952–53, 'The Bletchley Circle'. The ambitious series followed four women who worked as codebreakers at Bletchley Park.
Dissatisfied with the officials' failure to investigate complex crimes, the women begin to investigate for themselves. Rundle played the role of Lucy who was the youngest member of the circle and was married to an indolent man named Harry, who would beat her when she returned from an investigation. Lucy has a memory which allowed her to keep things in mind like images and specializes in recalling and processing data.
Unfortunately, the series was cancelled after Season 2, and Rundle, who played one of the most prominent characters on the show, was absolutely heartbroken by the news. According to Digital Spy, the actress stated, "It was a real shame because we would've loved to have come back. I think we were all gutted."
Saying it was not an entirely unexpected move, she said, "In the climate that we're in at the moment, it's really hard to get shows re-commissioned. Doing a second series was a complete bonus - we only thought we were doing a one-off drama." However, soon she picked up another prominent role in the six-part BBC One police procedural series 'Happy Valley' as Kirsten McAskill.
Rundle loved her character who was dark in approach but with her own twisty take on humor. Speaking with Digital Spy, she explained, "It's a dark subject matter that we're dealing with and it's thrilling and dramatic, but it's witty as well. It does everything - it's thrilling and mysterious, but also when it needs to be, it's light-hearted and charming."
Rundle's character was more like a good cop on the show, which also starred Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood, a West Yorkshire police officer caught up in a kidnap plot. While Lancashire's role was more inclined towards the old cop nature of strong ethics, Rundle's one was a portrayal of the younger, enthusiastic cop who might not be as ethical but is just as sincere.
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However, to date, Rundle's most celebrated character continues to be Ada Shelby, the only girl in the Shelby family. Protected and mostly controlled by her three brothers in Season 1, the following three seasons saw Ada emerge out of their shadows as she embraced her identity of a communist.
Not abiding by the capitalistic approach of her family towards life, she moves away from them and refuses to participate in their dirty work. However, even when she is at odds with her family, Ada loves her brothers and wouldn't mind shooting a man or two when she senses a potential threat around her family.
'Peaky Blinders' Season 5 is set to return later this spring and as we have already discussed in our previous story we would love to see Ada's revolting side basking under the limelight.