Idris Elba at 50 – his best roles

On September 6, the actor Idris Elba turned 50. The Brit enters his second half-century as a Hollywood star who has gone from mediocre series to roles in hit blockbusters.

“24 Hours” tells you about his screen evolution in view of the release of his next film – “3000 Years of Longing”.

“Drug network”

(The Wire, 2002-2008)

Elba began his career in television in the mid-1990s, but he was noticed in the series “Drug Network”, in which he played Russell Bell, nicknamed Stringer.

Elba stayed three seasons in the series, and after a few years he returned to the TV screen with a small role in the series “The Office”. The project revealed his comedic talent, which then preferred more serious, even dark roles.

“Once in April”

(Sometimes in April, 2005)

Elba’s first major role. The NGO film was shot on the occasion of the tragedy in Rwanda and the genocide against the Tutsi tribe. 10 years after the terrible events, the hero of Idris returns to his homeland, where his brother – a radio host and propagator of racial hatred – is on trial. Elba plays a man torn by conflicting feelings – sinking into the bloody reality, but also trying to understand the motives of his only living relative. A strong role is obtained.

“rock and roll”

(RocknRolla, 2008)

Working with more hit formats bore its fruits and Elba was noticed by Guy Ritchie, who used him for another crime comedy in the role of Mumbles. The hero of Idris, together with the other members of the “Wild Gang”, after a series of criminal affairs, receives his punishment, which – unlike the others, is much less.

“Luther” (Luther, 2010-2019)

The main breakthrough in the career of the Briton was the role in the crime series “Luther”. His character is London Police Chief Inspector John Luther. He is a man with complex morals and his own code of honor. He is friends with sociopaths, and prefers to fight criminals with their methods. For her, Elba received her long-awaited “Golden Globe” and an “Emmy” nomination.

“Thor” (Thor, 2011)

In today’s world, every actor, in order to hold a high position in Hollywood, must become part of one or another superhero movie universe. Idris has managed to play characters from both DC and Marvel comics. For the latter, he reincarnated as Heimdall – the all-seeing protector of Asgard, devoted to the god Odin.

“Mandela: The Long Road

to freedom” (Mandela:

Long Walk to Freedom, 2013)

In 2013, Elba found the perfect balance between mainstream and auteur cinema. He first played in Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster “Ring of Fire”, in which he again received the role of a man in uniform – Marshal Stacker Pentecost. Interestingly, the role was first offered to Tom Cruise. In the same year, the drama based on the eponymous autobiography of Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa and one of the most famous fighters for human rights, was released. Idris is in the lead role. His performance was highly praised by critics and he was nominated for a Golden Globe.

“Birthless Beasts”

(Beasts of No Nation, 2015)

Another financially modest but impressive acting wise Elba film. It is set in an unnamed West African republic and explores the genesis of violence and cruelty. The main character, the orphan Agu, falls among rebels led by the cruel and bloodthirsty Commander (Idris Elba), who becomes the young hero’s guide in the world of adults and monstrous acts.

Elba became so passionate about the project that he became one of the producers and helped secure its financing. The role of the Commander brought him a lot of prestige – an award from the Actors Guild of the USA, the “Independent Spirit” award, as well as nominations for BAFTA and “Golden Globe”.

“The Dark Tower”

(The Dark Tower, 2017)

The film was to become the first in the series based on the series of novels of the same name by Stephen King. But it became such a failure that the project stopped after the first film.

Elba plays the Archer Roland Dyskain, whose goal is to kill the powerful evil wizard known as the Man in Black. According to King himself, the archetype of Sagittarius is Clint Eastwood’s character from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.

“The Cats” (Cats, 2019)

Having just taken a break from the failure of The Dark Tower, Idris turned to another expensive and subsequently failed project – the musical Cats, which gathered an impressive cast, but no less negative reviews. He plays the cat and evil wizard Makavity. The role in the movie musical also allows him to demonstrate his singing talent – few people know that he has released several albums.

“Fast and furious:

Hobbes and Shaw”

The fact is that the high artistic qualities of the “Fast and Furious” series have been repeatedly questioned, but the project is part of pop culture and regularly brings big money to the creators.

“Suicide Squad”

(The Suicide Squad, 2021)

Last year, Elba beautifully flew into the DC Comics-Film Universe with his role as Bloodsport, a character convicted of trying to kill Superman. Initially, the producers wanted the Brit instead of Will Smith, but then they decided to leave a loophole for the return of the American as Deadshot and invented a new character. Director James Gunn says that every superhero is inspired by a specific cinematic image. The prototype of Bloodsport is the iconic and controversial Steve McQueen with his roles in the 1960s.

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”

(Three Thousand Years

of Longing, 2022)

Between the first film in the Mad Max series and Mad Max: Furiosa, George Miller returned to the screen with a true fairytale mystery. Beautiful, as only the visual genius of the Australian director can, a story about the unexpected meeting of Tilda Swindon’s character with the spirit from the magic lamp, played by Idris Elba. This role cemented his reputation as a tomboy who nevertheless charmed the audience, and as a fragile magical being who bestows incredible gifts on those around him, but dreams of the simple joy called freedom. The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received a five-minute standing ovation, proving how much the audience had been waiting for Miller’s world. Three Thousand Years of Longing is an exquisitely clever and haunting reminder that magic still exists and is literally just around the corner. In the specific case – in the secret corners of Istanbul’s “Kapal Çarşi” market.


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