Posted by | Cyrena Rose
Look, I know that I work a lot, but I’d prefer to wait sometimes because I don’t want to just do rubbish films anymore or characters that anyone can play…
Actor, director, DJ, and (my) ultimate heartthrob IDRIS ELBA covers the September issue of Details Magazine ~ in it we get a glimpse of Elba’s undeniable, indescribable appeal.
“Everyone knew he’s going to be a movie star, no question,” David Simon [creator, executive producer, head writer of The Wire] says. “The last person to realize it was him, which made it even funnier.”
In my opinion he’s not just a movie star, he’s a great actor…if you watch his films you don’t see Idris, you see the character he is portraying and that, to me, is a masterful skill. That is acting. That is what I call a gift. Am I biased because I am a huge fan? Perhaps, however, the man’s gift has made room for him.
“From an actor’s point of view, you’re obliged to lose yourself a little and take on someone else’s agenda,” Elba he says. “That’s why you’re there.”
In between testing a recipe his mother gave to Jamie Oliver and finalizing edits on a video he directed for the American singer K. Michelle, Idris chats-it-up with Adam Sachs.
Enjoy photos from the article lensed by Mark Seliger along with some excerpts of the interview…
“Whenever he [Elba’s uncle] had too much fun or got too drunk, I’d take over for him,” Elba says. “I grew up on music round the house. It was always something I loved. When I got a little older and I saw you could spin and it’d be a job, well, I never looked back. I always keep it close to me and just love it.”
Music, spinning records and making them, has been a part of his life from his early career in London through his New York City years and his big break in Baltimore—where he’d record with his Wire costars. “Me and Wood Harris, who played Avon, and Hassan Johnson, who played Wee Bey,” Elba says, “we’d book out a studio and make records of us rapping. I’d make the beats and chords—just fun, freestyle stuff.”
The whole of his appeal is greater than the sum of his parts. “I’ve been that guy for a while, where people recognize me but they’re not sure why,” he says. “I’d done a lot of popcorn films, but the reinvention came when I decided to do more of the character-driven stuff that won’t be seen by as many people. But it makes people start to realize, ‘Wait a second, this guy is that guy.'”
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.
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.
“I like to cook,” he says. “I went to Trinity boys’ school, Canning Town, East London, the edge of the industrial world. But we had this home-economics class where you got tough lads like me and my mates learning how to cook, and I absolutely loved that.”
To read the interview in its entirety, click here ~ also enjoy the trailer for Idris’ & Taraji P. Henson‘s September thriller No Good Deed below:
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Styling by Sean Spellman | Photographs by Mark Seliger