It’s fair to say that things are going pretty… pretty… pretty… (copyright Larry David) well for Idris Elba at the moment. First, the exceptional Luther recently stormed back to our TV screens for a third gripping series and is captivating us once more. Second, Legendary/Warner Bros’ huge blockbuster Pacific Rim - directed by Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy visionary, Guillermo del Toro – has just noisily elbowed its way into Cineplexes worldwide and sees Elba playing a role originally slated for Tom Cruise.
Pacific Rim is set in a future where giant monsters have mysteriously risen from the depths of the ocean, and soldiers piloting giant robots are sent to do battle with them. Just read that last sentence again: this film is going to rock harder than a child with ADHD who’s missed his, or her, medication.
It’s by far Elba’s biggest movie to date, a near $200 million production that he carries on his big shoulders. But 2013 doesn’t end there for Elba… let’s not forget he’ll reprise his role as Heimdal in Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World which is released in November. Also out in November, there’s the long-awaited, Oscar tipped biopic Long Walk To Freedom, in which he’ll be stepping into the huge shoes of Nelson Mandela.
Big Driis is an exceptionally watchable actor who has more than paid his dues and is about to reap the lavish rewards. His first roles were the reconstructions on the BBC’s Crimewatch (perfectly illustrating the bigotry which still festers at the heart of both British media and society), the obligatory jobbing actor work on The Bill and an Ab Fab episode where he played a male prostitute named Hilton. Idris Elba has moved from those unremarkable beginnings to: starring in some of the biggest film and tv series, which have put him in the running to be the next 007.
Mr. Elba also has a blossoming under-the-radar music career, having released three EPs and made appearances on albums by Jay Z and Pharoahe Monch. The man is so outrageously talented, and has generated enough goodwill, that I can even forgive him for directing and starring in the video Lover Of The Light by the execrable anti-music machine Mumford And Sons (just typing the name of the band makes me feel as if I’m enunciating an evil incantation). Though his performance in the video certainly deserves an honourable mention;
He’s meticulously amassing an impressive body of work and his glittering success couldn’t happen to a nicer fella. It’s just a massive shame that he’s had to relocate to America to guarantee himself the quality roles he deserves. Clearly Idris’ best work is ahead of him, but here is an examination of 5 of his most awesome performances so far and 5 that, well, weren’t so great as Idris Elba becomes the latest subject of our Friday column…
This article was first posted on July 12, 2013