Elba at the 2007 American Music Awards
|Born||Idrissa Akuna Elba
6 September 1972
Hackney, London, England
|Other names||Big Dris
|Occupation||Actor, film producer, singer, rapper, DJ|
(m. 1997–1998; divorced)
(m. 1998–2003; divorced)
Idrissa Akuna "Idris" Elba (/ /; born 6 September 1972) is a British actor, producer, singer, rapper, and DJ. He is best known for portraying drug lord and aspiring businessman Russell "Stringer" Bell in the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire, and Detective John Luther in the BBC One series Luther. He has won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Luther. Elba has appeared in films such as American Gangster (2007), Daddy's Little Girls (2007), Takers (2010), Thor (2011), Prometheus (2012), Pacific Rim (2013) and Thor: The Dark World (2013). In 2013 he portrayed Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. In addition to his acting work, he is a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis (or Big Driis the Londoner) and a hip-hop soul musician.
Elba was born in Hackney, London. His father, Winston, was a Sierra Leonean and worked at a Ford motor factory, and his mother, Eve, was a Ghanaian and had a clerical job. Elba's parents married in Sierra Leone and later moved to London. Elba himself was raised in East Ham, and shortened his first name at school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. Elba began helping an uncle with his wedding DJ business in 1986; within a year, he had started his own DJ company with some of his friends. Elba left school in 1988 and won a place in the National Youth Music Theatre, thanks to a £1,500 Prince's Trust grant, but he ended up having to do everything from tyre-fitting to cold-call advertising sales to pay the rent between roles in Crimewatch murder reconstructions. Elba was working in nightclubs under the DJ nickname Big Driis in 1991, but began auditioning for television parts in his early twenties. After a stint in the National Youth Music Theatre, he worked the night shift at Ford Dagenham.
In 1995, Elba landed his first role on a series called Bramwell, a medical drama set in 1890s England. He played the lead character in an episode of the first season, an African petty thief named Charlie Carter, who lost his white wife to childbirth and had to figure out how to support his newborn daughter. His first credited role arrived in 1995, with a supporting role as a gigolo on the "Sex" episode of Absolutely Fabulous. Many supporting roles on British television followed, including series such as The Bill and The Ruth Rendell Mysteries. He joined the cast of the soap opera Family Affairs, and rose to prominence in the acclaimed serial Ultraviolet. He went on to appear in a more established television series, Dangerfield, in 1999, playing a forensic scientist. He decided to move to New York City soon after. He returned to England occasionally for a job, such as a part in one of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, a top-rated crime series. In 2001, Elba played Achilles in a stage production of Troilus and Cressida in New York City. After a supporting turn on a 2001 episode of Law & Order, he landed a starring role on a 2002 HBO drama, The Wire. From 2002 to 2004, Elba portrayed Russell "Stringer" Bell in the HBO drama series, perhaps his best known role in the US. In 2005, he portrayed Captain Augustin Muganza in Sometimes in April, an HBO film about the Rwandan Genocide. Elba appeared on the 2007 BET special Black Men: The Truth. Elba appeared in the role of Charlie Gotso in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency opposite Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose, filmed in Botswana. The series premiered on 23 March 2008, Easter Sunday, on BBC One, receiving a high 6.3 million viewers and 27% of the audience share.
In January 2009, it was reported per Variety that Elba would portray Charles Miner, a new rival to Dunder Mifflin regional manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) for NBC's The Office. Elba appeared in a six episode story arc later in the 2009 season as well as the season finale. In September 2009, Elba signed a deal to star as the lead role in the 6-part BBC television show Luther, which aired in May 2010. In October 2009, it NBC announced Elba as executive producer of an as yet untitled legal drama. He portrayed Laura Linney's lover on Showtime's The Big C in 2010. At the 69th Golden Globe Awards telecast on 15 January 2012, Elba won the Award for Best Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for his portrayal of DCI Luther in the BBC Crime-Thriller series Luther.
In 2007, Elba signed on as the lead of the 2007 film Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, playing Monty, a blue-collar mechanic who falls in love with a six-figure attorney (Gabrielle Union) helping him gain custody of his kids, and finds the relationship and his custody hopes threatened by the return of his ex-wife. He joined the supporting cast of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's 28 Weeks Later (2007), the zombie horror sequel to Danny Boyle's 2002 28 Days Later. He filmed This Christmas with Chris Brown, Mekhi Phifer, Loretta Devine and Regina King, that brought in nearly $50 million at the box office in 2007. In 2008, Elba starred in the horror film Prom Night and Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla. In January 2009, Elba starred in horror film The Unborn. He starred in Obsessed, alongside Beyoncé Knowles and Ali Larter, as an asset manager who has a beautiful wife (Knowles) and thriving career until a temp office worker (Larter) begins stalking him. Obsessed was a box office success, taking $29 million in its opening weekend. Obsessed was released on DVD on 4 August 2009.
Elba's next film was Legacy (2010) in which he portrayed a black ops soldier, Malcolm, who returned to Brooklyn after a failed mission in Eastern Europe, where he undertook a journey looking for retribution. He starred in Dark Castle's adaptation of DC/Vertigo's The Losers, under the direction of Sylvain White, in the role of Roque, the second-in-command of a black-ops team out for revenge against a government that did them wrong. Filming took place in Puerto Rico and the movie was released in April 2010. Elba appeared in the 2010 thriller Takers, also starring Hayden Christensen, Chris Brown, T.I., and Paul Walker. He played Heimdall in Kenneth Branagh's 2011 Thor film (based upon the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name). In August 2010, Elba signed up to portray the title character in a reboot of James Patterson's Alex Cross film franchise. However in February 2011 he was replaced by Tyler Perry. Elba appeared in the 2012 sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, alongside Nicolas Cage, with Elba playing an alcoholic warrior monk tasked with finding Ghost Rider. On Wednesday, 22 June 2011, Legendary Pictures announced that Elba had joined Guillermo del Toro's 2013 film, Pacific Rim, in the role of Stacker Pentecost. In February 2012, Elba confirmed the rumours that he would portray former South African President Nelson Mandela in the film based on the autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. In June 2012, Elba portrayed Captain Janek in Prometheus. In October 2013, rumors surfaced that Elba would be starring in Jurassic World, the fourth Jurassic Park film.
In 2001, Elba appeared in music videos for Fat Joe, Angie Stone and English rapper Giggs. In 2006, he recorded the four-song EP Big Man for Hevlar Records. He co-produced and performed on the intro to Jay-Z's 2007 album American Gangster. He DJ'd at the 2007 NBA All Star parties at the The Venetian and Ice House Lounge in Las Vegas. Elba appeared in the "Respect My Conglomerate" music video for Busta Rhymes's 2009 Back on My BS album. In July 2009, Elba was the DJ for BET's new series Rising Icons. Elba announced the release of his first single "Please Be True." Elba is currently working on his second EP, and plans to tour Europe in late 2009. In the August 2009 issue of Essence magazine, he announced the name of his six-song EP as Kings Among Kings. He released his EP High Class Problems Vol. 1 in the United Kingdom in February 2010. In 2011, he performed on the intro to Pharoahe Monch's album W.A.R. (We Are Renegades). In 2012, he directed and performed in the Mumford and Sons music video for "Lover of the Light".
In April 2009, the Prince's Trust, which Elba credits with helping to start his career, appointed him its Anti-Crime Ambassador. In July 2010, he announced his support for Oona King in her campaign to become the Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London in 2012. Elba has been a fan of Arsenal F.C. since he was a teenager. Elba is also a keen cricket fan, and has expressed his support for the King's Road cricket club.
Idris Elba and his girlfriend Naiyana Garth, a make-up artist, are expecting their first child together. They have been dating since March 2013.
In the media
Elba was featured as one of the "Ten Hottest Men on the Planet" in the April 2004 issue of Essence magazine, and again in the November 2005 issue. He was selected as one of People's annual 100 Most Beautiful People in the World in May 2007. He appeared on the August 2009 and November 2011 covers of Essence magazine. He appeared on the August 2010 cover of Ebony magazine.
|2005||Gospel, TheThe Gospel||Charles Frank|
|2007||Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls||Monty James|
|2007||Reaping, TheThe Reaping||Ben|
|2007||28 Weeks Later||General Stone|
|2007||This Christmas||Quentin Whitfield|
|2008||Prom Night||Detective Winn|
|2008||Human Contract, TheThe Human Contract||Larry|
|2009||Unborn, TheThe Unborn||Arthur Wyndham|
|2010||Legacy||Malcolm Gray||Executive producer|
|2010||Losers, TheThe Losers||Roque|
|2012||Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance||Moreau|
|2013||Pacific Rim||Stacker Pentecost|
|2013||Thor: The Dark World||Heimdall|
|2013||Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom||Nelson Mandela|
|2014||No Good Deed||Executive Producer|
|1994||Space Precinct||Sublight Pizza drug courier||Episode: "Double Duty"|
|1995||Absolutely Fabulous||Gigolo||Episode: "Sex"|
|1996||Crocodile Shoes II||Jo-Jo||1 episode|
|1997||Family Affairs||Tim Webster|
|1997||Silent Witness||Charlie||Episode: "Blood, Sweat & Tears"|
|1998||Ultraviolet||Vaughan Rice||6 episodes|
|1999||Dangerfield||Matt Gregory||12 episodes|
|2000||In Defence||PC Paul Fraser||1 episode|
|2002||The Inspector||Robert Gabriel||1 episode|
|2002–2004||Wire, TheThe Wire||Russell "Stringer" Bell||37 episodes|
|2005||Girlfriends||Paul||Episode: "All in a Panic"|
|2005||Sometimes in April||Augustin Muganza|
|2008||No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, TheThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency||Charles Gotso||1 episode|
|2009||The Office (U.S.)||Charles Miner||7 episodes|
|2010||Big C, TheThe Big C||Lenny||4 episodes|
|2011||Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1||Police Officer||1 episode|
|2010–2013||Luther||DCI John Luther||Producer
|2012||Idris Elba's How Clubbing Changed the World||Presenter|
|2011||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3||SFC "Truck"|
|2010||Walk Like a Panther||TV series; Executive producer|
|2011||How Hip Hop Changed the World||Executive Producer|
|2011||Demons Never Die||Executive Producer|
|2012||Lover of the Light, Mumford and Sons||Producer and star (Music Video)|
- 2006: Big Man
- 2009: Kings Among Kings
- 2010: High Class Problems Vol. 1
Awards and nominations
- "Idris Elba on Prometheus, Learning to Box, and His Party House". vulture.com. 6/8/12. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- Esther Addley (20 March 2008). "He often has fewer lines than anyone else but you still feel as though he has the bigger part, because he is luminous". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- "Why black British directors and actors leave the UK for Hollywood". The Guardian. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "The Wire Cast and Crew: Idris Elba, Rusell "Stringer" Bell". HBO.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Wire actor Elba joins BBC drama". BBC News. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- French, Philip (13 July 2013). "Pacific Rim – review". The Observer. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "‘Pacific Rim’ review: A rock ’em, sock ’em sci-fi spectacle with heart". The Washington Post. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Canada, Danielle (13 September 2011). "Idris Elba (Driis) Releases New Music Video "Secret Garden"". hiphopwired.com.
- Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express, Thursday 24 May 2012, Idris Elba: Obama loves him and now he's playing Mandela
- Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 24 January 2010, Idris Elba: life after 'Stringer' Bell
- Stuart Jeffries (9 May 2009). "The Midas Touch". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Chris Ayres (23 August 2008). "Life as a RocknRolla: meet the crafty Cockney Idris Elba". The Times (London). Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Idris Elba- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "Idris Elba". askmen.com. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Thomas, Archie (25 March 2008). "'Detective Agency' finds big auds". Variety. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- Plunkett, John (25 March 2008). "Minghella's last film watched by 6.3m". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Actor Idris Elbia developing NBC legal drama". Reuters. 28 October 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
- "Idris Elba Is New Alex Cross In Relaunched James Patterson Film Franchise". Deadline. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
- "Idris Elba and Columbus Short Interview, This Christmas". Moviesonline.ca. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "This Christmas". Thenumbers.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Idris Elba And Beyonce To Play Married Couple In 'Obsessed'". Blackvoices.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Weekend Report: Moviegoers Fixate on 'Obsessed'". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- "Idris Elba gets his kit off on set". UKPA. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
- "Idris Elba Confirmed For ‘The Losers,’ Zoe Saldana Playing Aisha". MTV. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- ""The Losers" Commences Production for Dark Castle Entertainment". Business Wire. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
- "Idris Elba joins Marvel Studios' 'Thor'". The Hollywood Reporter. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
- Bierly, Mandi (1 February 2011). "Tyler Perry in, Idris Elba out of Alex Cross reboot: Producer explains why – EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- Boris Kit (5 October 2010). "Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth gear up for 'Ghost Rider 2'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- "It's Official! Idris Elba Will Star In Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" (Black Superhero Next?)". Blogs.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
- "Confirmed! Idris Elba set to play Nelson Mandela in Biopic". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- Giggs – Hustle On official video on YouTube
- "He often has fewer lines than anyone else but you still feel as though he has the bigger part, because he is luminous". Movietome.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- John McMurtrie (11 February 2007). "Ties to 'Wire' cut – but new work calls". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- Busta Rhymes – Respect My Conglomerate (Official Music Video) HQ [ft. Lil Wayne & Jadakiss] on YouTube
- "Keri Hilson, The Dream and Idris Elba party with BET". S2Smagazine.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Davina Morris (5 July 2009). "Man of many talents – Actor Idris Elba returns to his first love, music, with the release of his new single". Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- "Elba refused to ask Beyonce for help". Pr-inside.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Jeannine Amber (13 July 2009). "ESSENCE August Issue: Sexy Talk With Idris Elba". Essence. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
- "High Class Problems". driis. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
- "Idris Elba Becomes Anti Crime Ambassador". Looktothestars.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Oona King can tackle violence, says The Wire star Idris Elba". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 23 July 2003.
- "Arsenal can win the title! - Idris Elba".
- "Liam Gallagher branded an 'idiot' by Idris Elba". The Guardian. 19 September 2013.
- "People Magazine's 'Most Beautiful People' issue". CBS News. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Idris Elba Covers Ebony Magazine". Shavaross.com. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Idris Elba|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Idris Elba.|
- Official website
- Official Music Site
- Hevlar Recordings on Myspace
- Idris Music on Myspace
- Idris Elba on Twitter
- Idris Elba on Facebook
- Idris Elba Music on Facebook
- Idris Elba at the Internet Movie Database
- The Films of Idris Elba
- Sometimes in April Interview