By Sandra Varner
Previously best known as the calculating de facto leader of a Baltimore drug empire in HBO’s critically acclaimed original series “The Wire,” Idris Elba is quickly making his mark as an actor to watch in Hollywood with a string of well-received performances in high-profile films.
Elba started his career in his native London, where he had become a mainstay on British television by his mid twenties. His leading role debut was in the HBO Original Film, “Sometimes in April,” by critically acclaimed director Raoul Peck. Set during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Elba’s portrayal of Augustan, a Hutu soldier who trying to save his Tutsi wife and family during the mass killings, received rave reviews. A prolific run of leading roles followed in Tyler Perry’s dramatic feature, “Daddy’s Little Girls,” opposite Hilary Swank in the thriller “The Reaping” and in the horror thriller “28 Weeks Later.”
In “Takers,” a group of high-living young criminals supports their extravagant lifestyle with a series of painstakingly planned bank robberies while a dedicated police officer makes it his personal mission to stop them. Cast include Paul Walker (“Too Fast, Too Furious” film franchise), Hayden Christensen (“Jumper”), Michael Ealy (“Seven Pounds”), Tip T.I. Harris (“Atl.”) Zoe Saldana (“Avatar”) and Chris Brown (“Stomp the Yard”).
I spoke to Elba during a press tour in San Francisco —
Sandra Varner (Talk2SV): I describe “Takers” as sexy cool; how would you describe it?
Idris Elba: I think it is sexy cool. It’s sophisticated, and it has everything that you expect from a good action film. There are great action sequences, but it has a little more in terms of the story. There is not just one leading man, there’s like five, six of us, and each one has a story line. Each one has a certain charisma; it has all those elements going for it.
Talk2SV: How close is the character Gordon Jennings to your own personality?
Elba: Wow, let me think about that. Gordon is quite a strategic type guy; he’s very pragmatic. I guess to be able to do what he’s done, he’s traveled all over the world, and I have, too. He’s settled into the business that he’s in, here in America; he’s a phenomenal thief. He is the best that you can get. All of them are creative, they’re ambitious, they take huge amounts of money and they’re quite old school for this day and age. Now, theft is done online, (but) these guys are still robbing banks. So I’m a little old school in that sense, I’m a more traditional kind of cat.
Read the full interview at www.Talk2sv.com.