ETOnline.com — Idris Elba is flexing a new muscle these days: his directing muscle. The Golden Globe-winning actor is teaming up with longtime pal K. Michelle (Love & Hip Hop) for her Rebellious Soul: The Musical. The hip hopera airs on VH1 on Tuesday, August 19. Described by the network as a “dark and cautionary tale,” Rebellious Soul brings Michelle’s album to life through narrative. Think R.Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet.
“[R. Kelly] was my mentor when I first got in the business,” Michelle tells ET Online. “I used to really watch [Trapped in the Closet] and pay close attention to it. After that, I always wanted to do it.” Elba, who immediately jumped on board after an informal conversation with Michelle. “I was sitting around talking to him about it. He said he wanted to do it and I was like, ‘No, you don’t.’ But he was on it the next day,” she says. “He and I talked about my vision and he completely stepped it up. He didn’t want it to be shot like a regular music video, he wanted it to have a different texture to it.”
“It’s really crazy to see how humble and down to earth this man is,” Michelle gushes. “Directing, he’s so creative. He’s so in the zone. Nothing distracts him and he’s not going to let anything distract that cast.” That’s not to say that it was all work on no play. “He was big on me having as many drinks as I like,” she adds with a laugh. “Keeping me focused! He’s about business, man. I look forward to seeing more things from him. He’s really good at [directing].”
Details.com – The badass Brit has an impressive résumé—from acclaimed parts in The Wire and Mandela to popcorn fare like Pacific Rim and this month’s No Good Deed—but that hardly explains his legions of admirers and the intense passions he inspires. No, there is something to the 41-year-old actor that goes beyond talent, something elusive and rare, and so undefinable we simply say he’s got “it.”
“Do I make you nervous with my knife?” asks Idris Elba, playfully brandishing a big shiny blade. The mock-sinister tease—raised eyebrows, velvet baritone—could have come straight from one of Elba’s bad guys.
But today’s script calls for a lighter touch: Six feet three and built like a stack of cannonballs, Elba is wrapped in a pinstripe apron and sipping peppermint tea in the kitchen of an old warehouse. The space has been transformed into the recipe-development lair of his pal, the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. The only thing Elba will be threatening with that knife today is a pile of onions ready to be minced.
Elba’s here to test a recipe his mother gave to Oliver: groundnut soup. “It’s not caviar,” Elba explains in a booming dance-hall voice that’s at once at home here in East London and hard to place. “It’s cheap, cheerful, and quick. It’s like the fish ‘n’ chips of Sierra Leone.”
The hearty peanut-butter-thickened okra-and-chicken stew is, indeed, the unofficial national dish of Sierra Leone, the birthplace of Elba’s late father, Winston. And the version being made today is a family recipe: Eve, Elba’s Ghanaian mother, taught him to make the stew when he was 10 years old. He’s been perfecting his technique ever since. Oliver plans to include the recipe in a book of comfort food, due out this fall, as a tribute to Winston, who passed away last year at the age of 76.
Elba moved back to London from Los Angeles to be with his ailing father. After Winston died, following a grueling bout with lung cancer, the Hackney-born actor (full name: Idrissa Akuna Elba) decided to stay on. “This is where my ambition started, you know?” Elba says. “I fell in love with a movie—some live-action Spider-Man at the Rio in Shoreditch. Saturday-matinee situation, kids climbin’ all over. But I was just fascinated. I knew from age 10 that this was the industry I wanted to be in.” For Elba, the homecoming is a chance to regroup—as well as a staging ground of sorts for another act in a varied career and life.
123 new photos of Idris Elba as Tango in American Gangster have been added to our photo gallery.
Following the death of his employer and mentor, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas establishes himself as the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan. He does so by buying heroin directly from the source in South East Asia and he comes up with a unique way of importing the drugs into the United States. As a result, his product is superior to what is currently available on the street and his prices are lower. His alliance with the New York Mafia ensures his position. It is also the story of a dedicated and honest policeman, Richie Roberts, who heads up a joint narcotics task force with the Federal government. Based on a true story.
1 poster, 3 production stills and 608 screencaps of Idris Elba as Quentin Whitffield in This Christmas have been added to our photo library.
A Christmastime drama centered around the Whitfield family’s first holiday together in four years.