Daily Archives: May 19, 2015

My Fascination with Actor Idris Elba

I blogged about HBO NOW the other day and was all distressed about the programming I had encountered during my trial period. HBO came again to my attention today as I had sampled a Netflix show called Luther. It stars Idris Elba, whom I first knew as Stringer Bell on the HBO show “The Wire.” There are many people who think The Wire is pretty much the best show ever to be on television and I would have to agree that it is one of the best I have ever seen. (I think it may have had some unfortunate consequences for Baltimore as the show is a fictionalized (obviously) portrayal of the drug trade in that city and the efforts of the Baltimore PD to end the trade. I’ve never been to Baltimore myself, so I’m afraid much of what I “know” about Bmore comes from this television show.)

I found Elba’s Stringer Bell to be an extremely compelling character. He’s basically a businessman at heart who is the head of a huge drug operation. As far as I knew through my watching of the five seasons, he was an American African-American actor playing this role. But when I turned on Luther this weekend, here was Idris th-fronting for all he was worth. In case you’re not familiar, th-fronting means they say “bave” instead of “bathe” and “wevvah” for “whether.” (Russell Brand is another well-known person who naturally speaks with th-fronting.) When the Luther character opened his mouth and revealed his Britishness, I was shocked! Never one to be ahead of the curve when it comes to well-known info about celebs, I was very surprised to hear him speak so differently from Stringer.

Elba also starred as Nelson Mandela in the 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Although I have not seen it yet, I intend to watch this film at least in part because I want to hear Elba do a South African accent as well! I found this YouTube interview with him from 2013 which I think really captures his winsome personality as well as shows his versatility through clips from both The Wire and Luther. The most captivating comment he made was that he based his perception of Nelson Mandela on his own father, who is a dignified British man with silver hair. What a legacy his father has given him!

An additional clip of Idris Elba from The Wire can be seen here:

And in Luther here:

I would guess that most of my typical readers would not be interested in The Wire as it is quite intense, plenty violent, and oh, the language. But it really is a great show. Have you seen The Wire? Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom? Was this post interesting to you if you’re not a fan of Idris Elba?