Idris Elba has several thriving careers going for him, not the least of which is giving powerful performances in both feature films and on television. When I spoke with him on August 8, 2010, he explained how his career in music informs his thespian efforts, how and why he wanted to make his TAKERS character, a daring crime boss, deeper than that of the usual criminal genius in a glitzy crime thriller, opined on the reasons crime needs to be glamorous on screen, and talked movingly about why he wanted to travel to Rwanda barely ten years after the genocide there to star in Raoul Peck’s SOMETIMES IN APRIL, which dealt with that tragedy.
TAKERS is a slick crime thriller which pits a daring and creative band of thieves against a determined Los Angeles police detective, with more than the loot at stake for each side. Elba plays Gordon, the leader of an astonishingly good looking group of human beings, each with a special larcenous talent and a flair for the good life. The film co-stars Matt Dillon, Hayden Christensen, Chris Brown, Mike Ealy, Jay Hernandez, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Paul Walker, Zoe Saldana, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
Elba began both his acting and music careers in his native England, taking a turn as a gigilo on the wrong end of an enhancement product on television’s “Absolutely Fabulous”, before going on to more roles than I can list here but which include playing real-estate minded drug lord Russell “Stringer” Bell, on HBO’s “The Wire”, Michael Scott’s nemesis on NBC’s “The Office”, a Hutu trying to save his Tutsi wife during the Rwandan genocide in Raoul Peck’s SOMETIMES IN APRIL, the most dangerous man in Bostwana in “The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency”, and the object of Ali Larter’s OBSESSION in the film of the same name. He’s also gone behind the camera with LEGACY, in which he plays an anguished special ops agent and of which he also served as executive producer, and as an associate producer of the BBC‘s “Luther”, in which he plays a homicide detective. In 2011 he will be seen as Heimdall in the much anticipated THOR. Elba is also a DJ under the moniker DJBig Driis the Londoner, and a hip-hop soul recording artist. He also co-produced and performed on the intro to Jay-Z’s 2007 album American Gangster.