Idris Elba: “You need a good coat if you want to be a detective” | Film
What’s your best survival tip to avoid being eaten by a giant lion? Top Tramp
Keep quiet, stay still, don’t move too much because they will find you, then call for help over the radio. There are no real lions in my new movie, Beast: it’s all CGI. They took many photos of a real lion in its real environment to see what the light was doing and how the fur was moving.
Did Nelson Mandela really think it was him in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom because you were so convincing? LarboIreland
Ha! No. There’s a photo of me replicating a famous photo of him. I look so much like her in the photo that someone thought it was the original photo. But it certainly wasn’t Nelson Mandela.
What’s the best crime you’ve reenacted when you were an actor Crime watch? Mr. Blancmange
My very first job was for a government infomercial, trying to talk people out of locking up their bikes. It was, “Make sure you lock up your bike or it’s going to get bitten.” I play a cyclist who gets his bike nicked, running down the road yelling, “That’s my bike!”
Then on Crimewatch, I played a gang of criminals in all these fairly realistic and somewhat raw reconstructions. There used to be this beautiful and prestigious Mercedes dealership on Mile End Road in London, not far from Bow Road tube station. I remember driving past and seeing all these pretty cars. Then these 10 guys came in and stole them all. It was a robbery. So they did a re-enactment and I played one of the pilots.
When did you realize you had become such an important, representative and historic part of The Wire? DeJongandtherestless
When we shot the pilot, it felt like Stringer Bell was an important character. As an actor, you never know where these things are going to go. But when the first season became popular in the United States, I realized it was a great show. When HBO decided they were going to continue my storyline – I was only supposed to be in one season – I realized, wow, people really like this show.
Would Luther have been more or less effective if he wore a leather jacket like Bergerac, a raincoat like Columbo, a tuxedo like Poirot, a gimmicky coat like Inspector Gadget, or a felt bucket hat like Miss Marple? OverLunder, TopTramp and Hooplehead1967
I think if he was wearing an Inspector Gadget coat, he might have been less effective because everyone would have seen it coming! But Luther’s coat was definitely what he liked; it was his Superman outfit. What about detectives and coats? It’s their uniform, their office. That’s where they keep all their notes, their weapons, their evidence. You need a good coat if you’re going to be a detective, otherwise you’re going to have stuff in your jeans and in your pockets. You don’t want that.
Any progress on Luther’s next series or movie? Manaochi and Wazza10
We shot the movie. About a year ago I spoke to the press saying that we were going to make a movie one day, and we just finished it. So I’m really excited. Hopefully we’ve scaled it up and infused it to look like a movie, but we really tried to be careful not to alienate audiences who loved Luther as a TV show.
How would the conversation go if Luther met Stringer Bell? sgbfab
They are both intellectuals, so I think they would get along. Luther could ask Stringer to help him. Stringer might say to Luther, “You can be very useful to me and I can be very useful to you.”
You were stellar in Cary Joji Fukunagait is beasts of no nation. Would you like to make more independent films? Manaochi
I love independent films because you have a lot more freedom; it is a labor of love. Beasts of No Nation was a very difficult film to make, but yes, I want to make more independent films.
You’ve been linked with being the next James Bond. But what would be your dream role? Mike Baker, Redcar and CarolinaBeachGirl61
At the moment, I am moving towards directing. The ultimate role would be to lead something I’m into, to do both sides of the fence. I like movies that have a distinct art style, whether it’s an action movie or an indie short. So that’s what I would aim for.
How did you meet The Australian band Lime Cordiale for your recent collaborative EP? Seems a small niche. jeremybh
I was in Australia to make a film. I have a music publisher and whenever I can get a music session with another writer they organize it. They said, “Do you like this band called Lime Cordiale? I just happened to hear one of their songs on the radio, so I said, “I think they’re really cool.” We went into the studio to do a remix and ended up writing an EP.
Top 5 rappers? ClassicMacGruber
Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, J Cole, Nas and… Rakim.
Would you rather be the greatest actor or musician in the world? Or would you trade it all to score the winning penalty for Arsenal in the FA Cup final? Conorb2020 and catchy title
I would rather be the best musician in the world because I could still play. Or maybe I could play and pretend to be the best musician in the world playing for Arsenal? Where would I place the ball if I took the decisive penalty? At the bottom right!!
Do you think the creative industries – like playing – are closed to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds whose families have no connection to the industry? trewellardmaid
There are clearly fewer opportunities for people who do not have the financial means. If you come from a poor background, you are unlikely to end up in Rada. That said, it’s really up to individuals to go out and find those opportunities. If, at the time, I had sat down and said: “I will wait for Rada to come to me”, I would have achieved nothing. [Elba attended the National Youth Music Theatre after winning a £1,500 Prince’s Trust grant.] It’s like water: in some areas there isn’t much water, but if you walk far enough there is a full well. So that’s the attitude I always take. But of course, some communities see far fewer opportunities.
Are you named after Idris the dragon [1950s–70s kids TV show] Ivor the engine? saint_cloggy
No, but growing up, that’s what everyone called me. You just reminded me to look up what Idris the dragon looks like. He looks like me, you say? I take it as a compliment.