When I told people I was interviewing Idris Elba for the upcoming bro-centric heist movie, Takers many people gave me a puzzled look and asked, “Who?”
I list his long resume of roles and it’s not until I get to his character of Stringer Bell from The Wire until he gets some recognition (more on Stringer Bell later). This made me come to the realization that Elba falls into the “that guy” category of movie/TV stars — you kind of know who he is, but ultimately you don’t really know who he is. With his diverse track record of roles, you would think he would want instant recognition, but he really doesn’t mind being under the radar.
Dressed in a plain red V-neck, jeans and a huge ring that he got at one of those really cool shops in Santa Monica, he shares with us his views on being a low-key movie star. (he’s the guy in the clip with the English accent– yes, he has an English accent. It took me a while to figure that out too) :
On the flip side of things, it seemed like some people immediately knew he was — particularly the ladies. I wrote a status update on my Facebook page posing the following question: I’m Interviewing Idris Elba — what should I ask him?” And I got some lusty responses such as “Ask him how it feels to be sexy” and “Ask him if you could touch him.”
That will be the first and last time I ask for interview questions from my Facebook friends.
Nonetheless, in his latest movie Takers (out in theaters August 27), Elba plays Gordon Cozier who is the leader of a group of bank robbers who look like they have an expense account at Club Monaco. His crew include the likes of Hayden Christensen, Paul Walker, Chris Brown, Michael Ealy, and T.I. (yes, the rapper) who are about to pull off the most awesome Italian Job-esque heist ever (the original Italian Job happens to be Elba’s favorite heist movie).
Follow the jump for more audio of the interview.
Originally titled Bone Deep and directed by John Luessenhop, the role had a certain appeal to Elba. He has stepped foot in action-packed roles in movies like The Losers and RocknRolla (you can also mix Obsessed in there, but that’s a different kind of action), but with Takers, there was something a bit different.
I, for one, have this intrigue with heist movies. Naturally, a movie like this would be right up my alley — but what makes it different from all the rest? Better yet, what makes heist films appealing to the general public in general? What say you Idris?
The mix of actors in the movie is… interesting. With rap stars mingling with Fast and the Furious homeboys and Jedi Knights, you would think this recipe would leave an odd taste in your mouth. There may be conflicting personalities that would make for good gossip fodder — but Elba dispels those assumptions.
As we sit there talking some more about the movie at hand, the roundtable interview takes a detour. We talk about his tattoos, his rumored porn career (which was just a fun statement he made on the red carpet out of boredom), his role in Thor, and his “passion” projects like Legacy, we veer to his music career.
Elba spins on the ones and twos and actually made an unofficial mixtape for Takers (some of his tracks he got from his Twitter followers). He also will be DJing at Vessel in San Francisco come August 19. Considering he has worked with music artists (T.I., Chris Brown, Beyonce), you would think he would talk shop with them — but he is not a fan of that. “As a musician, I don’t like to talk about music with rappers/actors — it’s just corny” — but it’s not to say that he will help out his castmates when it comes to acting.
Now back to his role as Stringer Bell. Besides his deadpan, no-nonsense, by-the-book character Charles Miner in The Office, this may be one of his most popular roles — but he doesn’t really like talking about it that much:
As interested as I am in Stringer Bell and his music career, I steer the conversation back to more important things — like his idea of an awesome heist and the dream team that would help him execute the heist:
That is just brilliant. I wonder if I could be a part of his team. Perhaps this KFC heist could be the basis to Takers II: The Original Recipe.