During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show in 2016, Neill talked at length about his role in “Peaky Blinders,” and the amount of effort that went into delivering a Belfast accent to suit Campbell’s origins. While promoting his New Zealand comedy-drama, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” Neill joked about the people of New Zealand being “nicer” to him after learning that he wasn’t playing a “psychopath” like in “Peaky Blinders” in the Taika Waititi-directed film:
“It is a little movie that came from nowhere. It is heart-warming, a sort of a road movie without roads – we don’t have many in New Zealand. People are nicer to me in New Zealand as a result of this because the last time they saw me was as a psychopath in Peaky Blinders and they avoided me.”
There might be some truth to Neill’s playful comment, as Campbell’s arc had reached a point of no return after he committed an unforgivable crime by assaulting Polly Shelby. While Campbell’s ingrained misogyny and violent means to get his job done already rooted him as a formidable antagonist, this act inevitably led to character comeuppance in the form of his death in Season 2. While Neill had a hard time letting go of the role he had invested so much in, it goes without saying that his performance is one of the finest in the show, even among an incredibly stacked and talented cast who helped create a gritty, realistic world that is uncompromisingly cold and unforgiving.