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March 2008
An Interview with Idris Elba


An Interview with Idris Elba

By Wilson Morales

April 9, 2008

If you have been going to the movies lately, or just renting or buying DVDs, one of the few actors that you’ve probably seen in any of these films is Idris Elba, one of the hardest and hottest actors working today. Since leaving his signature role as Stringer Bell in HBO’s ‘The Wire’, Elba has made the most of his popularity. He’s worked with Boris Kodjoe, Hilary Swank, and most notably Denzel Washington in last year’s ‘American Gangster’.

He’s played a deacon, a mechanic, a gangster, and for his latest film, he’ll be playing a cop, which he hasn’t done before in the thriller ‘Prom Night’

Donna's senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life, one of magic, beauty, and love. Surrounded by her best friends, she should be safe from the horrors of her past. But when the night turns from magic to murder there is only one man who could be responsible... the man she thought was gone forever. Now, Donna and her friends must find a way to escape the sadistic rampage of an obsessed killer, and survive their Prom Night. The cast also includes Brittany Snow, Dana Davis, Jessica Troup, Scott Porter, Collins Pennie, Kelly Blatz, Jonathan Schaech, Jessalyn Gilsig, Kellan Lutz, and Craig Susser.

In speaking with Elba, he spoke about his role, the invasion of Black British actors on the Hollywood scene, and his upcoming projects.

What role do you play in the film?

Idris Elba: I play Detective Winn who is on the chase for a killer. It’s a small town and he has history with this guy, and basically I play the hero cop.

What attracted you to the film?

IE: It was just that I hadn’t done a thriller like this, and I like to play different parts, and I hadn’t played too many cops, and the script was decent.

From ‘The Reaping’ to ’28 Weeks Later’, this film falls within the same genre like the others. Do you have a liking to this genre?

IE: Each are different for me. They are weird subjects, and you get to play different parts.

This is totally different from the original ‘Prom Night’ that starred Jamie Lee Curtis. Had you seen that film?

IE: No, I hadn’t seen that film.

In playing a cop, did you want to add something to the character that we hadn’t seen in these types of films before?

IE: I guess that each character in a film and each cop in a film is different. I don’t think that I can bring anything different from what was in the script. It’s just my take on this guy and this cop.

How was it working with such a young cast?

IE: It was a good energy. I’m not too familiar with the prom world. Coming from England, we don’t have prom.

Including yourself, what can you say about the growing invasion of Black British actors in American Hollywood films?

IE: I actually been here in the states for 10 years, but I would say that you are definitely seeing a lot more UK actors; and I think that now people are noticing that there are from the UK. UK and American have been in collaboration for years and years. For me personally, I was in the trenches of American actors when I was in New York in the early 90s. I never like to say that I’m part of this invasion of UK actors. It makes it appear as if I came in from nowhere, but I think it’s healthy from America and England to have a good mix of talent.

Since leaving the part of Stringer Bell, are you glad that you haven’t been typecast in that same character frame?

IE: The industry has an understanding that I'm an artist who comes from England and I can play American characters and they give me scripts that are un-stereotypical just because they think that I have some unbelievable talent and can be able to transform myself into different characters, which is what an actor is supposed to do; however not all African American actors are afforded that privilege.

You have a number of films coming up with some major talent. Can you talk about doing ‘The Unborn’ for David Goyer?

IE: Yes, I start working on that in the next two weeks with myself, Gary Oldman, and David Goyer, and Meagan Good and I’m looking forward to it. I play a priest in the film that attempts to do an exorcism.

You also did ‘The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’ with Jill Scott. How was working on that film?

IE: It was great. It was really, really good. It had a good cast of people. We shot in in Botswana and it was the first time I had been there. It hasn’t been shown here yet, but it did very well in the ratings in England. It’s a very good piece of work and I’m proud of it.

What else do you have coming up for you?

IE: I have ‘Obsessed’, which is a remake of ‘Fatal Attraction’ with Beyonce and Ali Larter in it. I’m excited about that and it’s good film with a good storyline. I’m looking forward to getting it done.

From Jill Scott to Beyonce, who’s next that you are looking to work with?

IE: I think a lot of films are bringing in musicians as part of the cast. ‘Cadillac Records’, which is now shooting also has a bunch of musical talent in the film as well. I think it shows that the film industry is going.

Why should anyone go see ‘Prom Night’?

IE: It really depends on what sort of taste you’re in for. I think ‘Prom Night’ is a good thriller. It has some really new fresh actors in it.; and on a Friday night, what else could you do?

PROM NIGHT opens on April 11, 2008



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