While shopping at Wegmans yesterday Idris Elba caught my eye. On a magazine cover of course. Idris became the first male to grace the cover of Maxim magazine by himself.
The acclaimed actor talks music, sex, auto racing, and a certain martini-swilling special agent who shall remain nameless.
Take it from the man himself: It’s just not happening. Elba, Idris Elba, will not be the next actor to introduce himself with that famous construction as Ian Fleming’s spy with a license to kill. The oddsmakers have spoken, tipping Damian Lewis to take over from Daniel Craig following this year’s Spectre. True, the franchise’s fans have not been shy about their desire to see the producers slide the Aston Martin keys across the bar to Elba, the scrappy kid from working-class Hackney. But in the actor’s estimation, this very attention has all but killed his chances to land the role. So, in an effort to pull victory from the jaws of defeat, let’s all just shut up about it, foil the search engines, and not even mention the famous spy he’s never in a million years going to play, OK?
It should be enough to celebrate the work of an impressively talented 43-year-old actor with the range to go from playing The Wire’s drug kingpin Stringer Bell to Nelson Mandela, and soon the villain of the Star Trek reboot. Next month, Elba plays the frighteningly charismatic commandant of an African child army in Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, a performance sure to land him on a red carpet or two. And who knows? Given his recent auto-racing exploits and his prowess as a DJ, maybe the sight of the actor strutting before the global entertainment media in a designer tux will land him the role after all. Oddsmakers have been wrong before.
You shot Beasts of No Nation in Ghana, where your mother grew up. Were you received as a hero?
I think there’s some pride there about my heritage and pride that I can use my skill to tell African stories. I’ve been acting a long time, but playing Mandela was certainly one of the big touchstones where my family said, “Wow, well done.” Playing a part in Thor didn’t quite get the same sort of reaction.
Your dad, who was an autoworker, died in late 2013. You based your portrayal of Mandela partly on him.
Although my dad was a simple, working-class man, he was very charismatic and always wanted to stand up for the underprivileged. Even at Ford, he became a shop steward, a union rep. I got to show my dad that film; that’s the last performance he saw. There was a huge amount of satisfaction there.
How did your father react to the news that you wanted to be an actor?
He said, “Boy, think of something else.” He just straight told me actors don’t make money. And I was like, No, I’m gonna do it.
You left a solid career as an actor in London to struggle in New York. Did you ever fear you’d blown it?
Yeah, definitely. My agent in England didn’t support it. She said, “We’re just getting you work in the first place! Why do you need to go over there and be another hamburger? They already have hamburgers.” And I was like, Well, I wanna be a bigger and juicier hamburger. So I ended up in America only to find out that I wasn’t even a ham sandwich. It was tough.
Check out the interview at Maxim.com or the magazine at your local newsstand.
Last night the BBC America crime drama miniseries Luther premiered.
Idris Elba stars as the self destructive detective John Luther.
Luther is a gripping, psychological thriller driven by a brilliant and emotionally impulsive detective tormented by the darker side of humanity.
A self-destructive near-genius, Luther might just be as dangerous as the depraved criminals he hunts. In each episode, the murderer’s identity is known from the start, focusing the drama on the psychological duel between predator and prey.
Luther shines a light into the hearts and minds of psychopaths and killers, and the shadowy spaces of his own soul.
The six part miniseries first aired on BBC One in England earlier this year. A second series for Luther will air in England 2011. It will air as 2 two hour long movies.
I enjoyed part one. A nice change of pace to hear Idris talk in his native British accent. The actress who plays Alice Morgan looked familiar. Her name is Ruth Wilson. After doing a google search I recognized her from a PBS miniseries I saw earlier this year starring Naomie Harris titled Small Island.
If you missed part one you can catch it again on BBC America on Thursday October 21 at 9:00pm. New episodes of Luther air on Sundays at 10:00pm.
Yesterday’s Washington Post has an interesting article about rising star Idris Elba.
I first laid eyes on Mr. Elba, aka Stringer Bell in the HBO series The Wire. After leaving the show he starred in many films including Sometimes in April, The Gospel, Daddy’s Little Girls, American Gangster, 28 Weeks Later and Obsessed. He’s currently starring in the film Takers.
By Vanessa Williams
Saturday, August 28, 2010; C01
Idris Elba, looking as cool and virile as the fictional Baltimore drug lord whom he so memorably played on the acclaimed HBO series “The Wire,” winces at the mention of the s-word.
“Sexy?” he repeats, shifting in his chair and wrinkling his brow in a convincing display of mild discomfort. “I’m a little sheepish about it. Whenever I meet fans and they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re so sexy,’ I just don’t get that. There’s no way one man can be universally sexy.”
It’s a good answer, because had he said, “Hell, yeah, I’m sexy!” even in that cute British accent of his, it wouldn’t at all jibe with the image of the sensually serious man whose face these days is all over magazine covers and television and movie screens.
Right now, Elba’s career as an actor also is hot.
And that is something he is not only comfortable with, but eager to talk about. Elba, through the character of Russell “Stringer” Bell, seduced a loyal following that crossed race, class and gender lines. He also has been the most successful acting alumnus of the series, appearing in a number of movies, such as “American Gangster” with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, and several episodes of the TV sitcom “The Office.”
His latest project, “Takers,” a heist flick starring the rapper T.I., Chris Brown and Matt Dillon, opened Friday. Once again, Elba plays a cerebral criminal, the head of a high-tech, high-class ring of thieves who rob banks for big bucks.
He is also back on premium cable TV, in a recurring role in Showtime’s new series “The Big C,” starring Laura Linney. He will play a love interest of her character, an uptight suburban homemaker who decides to let loose after learning she has terminal cancer. And last year, he was praised in England for his starring role in a new BBC cop drama, “Luther,” which U.S. fans will get to see later this year on BBC America.
Check out the entire Post article here.
Idris Elba’s slow and steady rise might speed up with this news: The Wire actor has been cast as Dr. Alex Cross in a reboot of the role that Morgan Freeman originated in Kiss the Girls and Along Came A Spider. Deadline reports that Elba will star in David Twohy’s adaptation of James Patterson’s novel Cross, the 12th book in the series, which follows the forensic psychologist as he tries to help nab a serial rapist and mutilator (Michael Sullivan, the Butcher of Sligo) who used to work for the mob and may have killed Cross’ pregnant wife years earlier.