IDRIS ELBA talks taking on Nelson Mandela, turning 40, his modelling days & more!

Posted by | Cyrena Rose

English actor, stand up comedian, TV and radio presenter Eddie Nestor recently sat down with fellow British actor Idris Elba for a 1 on 1 interview!  When I read the dialougue between the two Brits, I immediately thought ‘I have to share the highlights…ladies love Idris Elba!’

Elba walked into the studio, casually dressed and in dark glasses and generously stated, “Ask what you like.”  Nestor did and here are the highlights:

Idris_EddieBBC London’s 94.9 Eddie Nestor & Idris Elba

How does it feel to be voted one of the sexiest men on the planet?

I came fourth,” was Elba’s matter of fact reply.

Nestor showed Elba the picture his wife had kept of the two of them from their “modelling” days & asked, tell me about the dreams of the boy in the picture?

After laughing uncontrollably Elba asked, “Lisa kept these?”

At that stage, clearly, I was not focused. My focus was all messed up ‘cause I got finger waves in my hair,” he said.

I was tall. I was never going to be a professional model but it was a step in the direction. I was in college doing a performing arts course. Two years of drama, acting, dancing, singing, directing and everything and the modelling was sort of like doing catwalk shows in, you know, Walthamstow Town Hall but they were good fun and I think my ambition grew.”

Is it true you hate being labelled a “black actor”?

You wouldn’t describe other actors by their ethnicity,” he said passionately. “You just describe them as actors. The word black always is associated with something negative so as soon as you say it, you’re casting some sort of shadow on whatever it is.”

Your colour was vital for your portrayal of Nelson Mandela in the upcoming Mandela, a biopic of the South African icon’s life…Elba becomes serious and intense. The glasses have gone.

The call for Mandela wasI’ve never spoke about it, Eddie, so I really haven’t processed it in my mind, but it was definitely momentous. I thought it was a joke at first.

I couldn’t understand why anyone would come to me. I didn’t think I was accomplished enough as an actor to play someone like Nelson Mandela and that’s the truth.

Morgan Freeman. Denzel Washington – these are people that have time and time again given massive performances of this nature, but I didn’t feel like I was worthy of it. I actually didn’t respond for about two or three weeks.”

 How does it feel to have finally turned 40?

I was on the set of Mandela…” Elba stated.

I certainly felt I had arrived because here I was playing the greatest man on earth on my 40th. It’s encouraged me to prioritize what’s important to me, family, happiness, not so much wealth, but having a sense of owning something and not just leaving this earth with nothing.”

To read the interview in its entirety (thoughts on the N-Word & rumors about DJango Unchained), click here.


By admin

Ray Cornelius is an entertainment news blogger and media personality. He is also the host of Jazz 91.9 WCLK's arts and entertainment show "UPFRONT." He lives in Atlanta.

95 replies on “IDRIS ELBA talks taking on Nelson Mandela, turning 40, his modelling days & more!”

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