Filmmaker Spotlight: Idris Elba
No recent actor today conjures up more gravitas than Idris Elba. With his commanding figure, deep English accent, and cool demeanor, Elba has been positively typecast as a leader and strong authority figure.
Born on 6 September, 1972 in London, Idris Elba is the son of a Sierre Leonean and a Ghanian. As a young man, he worked as a DJ under the name Big Driis but began auditioning for television parts by his late-twenties. He rose to prominence in 2002 as drug lord Russell “Stringer” Bell in the HBO series The Wire. He continued to work in television, playing characters such as Charles Miner in The Office and the eponymous character in Luther.
Idris Elba's film work began in 2006 when he signed on as the lead of Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls. He subsequently appeared in films such as American Gangster, Takers, Thor, Prometheus, Pacific Rim, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. In many of his films, he plays strong-but-silent authority figures; often exerting gravitas and dignity in his performances, Elba became associated with everything that was suave and refined.
Very few actors today command the presence that Elba does. His roles, his performances, and his appearance hearken back to the days of Cary Grant and Clark Gable, when leading men had debonair demeanors and dashing good looks. Although Elba exists in a blockbuster-driven world, he still manages to bring the sense of old-school class that permeated the Golden Age of Hollywood.