One on One With Idris Elba
Idrissa “Idris” Akuna Elba
Hometown: Hackney, London, England
Big Break: The Wire
Current Projects: The Dark Tower, Luther, Molly's Game, Thor: Ragnarok, The Mountain Between Us, Yardie
With four films in the pipeline for release this year—including Molly's Game ,Thor: Ragnarok, The Mountain Between Us, a hit series, Luther, and rumors of being the first black James Bond, Idris Elba, may well become the highest paid actor in the world.
As an only child, Elba developed a knack for music and was set on becoming a radio presenter. But things didn’t go as planned. The British native became a DJ and soon after migrated to America to become an actor.
Elba first won critical acclaim for his role in “The Wire” which led to starring roles in Tyler Perry’s “Daddy’s Little Girl”, “ This Christmas”, American Gangsters, Thor, “Obsessed”, No Good Deed, “Beast of No Nation” and most recently, “The Dark Tower” that is set to be released in theaters this month.
You play Roland Deschain in “ The Dark Tower”, tell us about the movie and your Role.
It’s a story about a young boy who discovers parallel universes and discovers that his purpose is much bigger in these other universes. He partners with the Gunslinger and they journey towards this boy's destiny, to save the Dark Tower. My character Roland Deschain [The Gunslinger] comes from a legacy of gunslingers who were put in place to protect “The Dark Tower” from the men in black.
What was it like playing this role and how did you prepare for it?
I haven’t done many actions films. I like to bring a little depth and bring a real character. And what’s been fun is, Nik’s [producer] really up for that. So we do takes that are a little bit more commercial, if you like, and we do takes that are very deep, like we’re making an independent film. It’s an iconic character. I want to get it right.
How do you avoid being typecast to play the same roles?
I just enjoy being an actor and changing myself into different characters. That’s my sweet spot in life that basically I can pretend to be other people very well. It’s called acting, but it’s actually something that’s a natural gift. I would prefer to be the guy that can do various different things than to be categorized as the guy that only does one thing really well. What’s the point in playing one character over and over again? Challenge yourself. Some of the best actors I know [in my opinion] have always been different and unrecognizable each time and that’s a blessing to be able to do it.
How do you find the energy to balance it all?
It gets easier as you get older. I’ve been working for a long time and what you put out there is what you end up getting back so I’ve been very fortunate.
What are you currently working on?
I do these documentaries with discovery channel to basically put me through the worst scenarios you could ever think of. The first season was about cars and I broke a speed record. This season, I use to kick box when I was younger and so this season I challenged myself. For the last nine months, I have been training for a fight. I train for 3 weeks in Thailand.