Q&A Idris Elba on his on­screen chem­istry with Kate Winslet and fear of spi­ders.

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - Interview by ADRI­ENNE TAM The Moun­tain Be­tween Us is in cin­e­mas na­tion­wide on Oc­to­ber 12.

Everyone ap­pears to have their own way of say­ing your first name – it’s ei­ther Eee-dris, Eye-dris, or Eh-dris. Can you clear it up for our read­ers once and for all? It’s Eee-dris with a short E, not a long, drawn-out E. You made your name in the US with The Wire. You did the same in Bri­tain with Luther. So, an Aus­tralian TV show could be on the cards next, but our ac­cent is no­to­ri­ously hard to im­i­tate. Have you ever tried? Have I tried an Aus­tralian ac­cent? Um… no! [Laughs.] I’m ter­ri­ble with ac­cents, if I’m hon­est. I’m ter­ri­ble at do­ing it off the cuff. I don’t think you’d be very im­pressed. Your new film The Moun­tain Be­tween Us was shot in the re­mote Cana­dian wilder­ness. Ap­prox­i­mately how many times did you watch The Revenant to gear up for the cold weather? I watched it once – not in prepa­ra­tion. But I did think of it once I was up there. Di­rec­tor Hany Abu-as­sad says you and co-star Kate Winslet have in­cred­i­ble chem­istry. Why do you think he said that – and, more im­por­tantly, do you think it beats hers and Leonardo Dicaprio’s in Ti­tanic? I think he said that be­cause we re­ally got on. We had to be­cause of the na­ture of the film, of course. It was hard work. Kate’s re­ally nice and we ba­si­cally bonded very quickly, even though our char­ac­ters bonded much slower. And that was help­ful be­cause we could re­ally pull this film to­gether and trust each other’s in­stincts. In an­swer to your sec­ond ques­tion, no. That is one of the all-time best chemistries on film, Leo and her in Ti­tanic. So no, I don’t think it beats that. In re­cent years you have voiced char­ac­ters in Find­ing Dory, The Jun­gle Book and Zootopia. Be hon­est: do you take those jobs so you have a quiet ex­cuse to eat some carbs and show up to work in your py­ja­mas for a change? [Laughs.] Yep, that’s it, you’ve got me. How did you guess? When you’re not act­ing, you are di­rect­ing. Or kick­box­ing. Or mak­ing mu­sic. Or de­sign­ing clothes. Have you ever thought about, oh, go­ing to a spa day or some­thing? Do you know what, I was think­ing about do­ing that today… but then the phone rang, and I had to talk to you [laughs]. Rest is on its way, just af­ter a few more ques­tions. Last year you were named one of TIME mag­a­zine’s 100 Most In­flu­en­tial Peo­ple. Wield your

“Try an Aus­tralian ac­cent? No! I don’t think you’d be very im­pressed” “Kate Winslet and I bonded very quickly but I don’t think it beats her and Leo’s all-time best film chem­istry in Ti­tanic”

in­flu­ence and tell our read­ers what they should have for din­ner tonight. You can have what­ever you want. But make sure you have some veg­eta­bles, too. You’ve won nu­mer­ous ac­co­lades. Ear­lier this year, you were awarded with an­other – Rear of the Year. You

took the glu­teus max­imus crown away from your Thor co-star Tom Hid­dle­ston, and beat Prince Harry, Jamie Dor­nan and Harry Styles to the punch. How do you feel? Yeah, I’m still weirded out by that, if I’m be­ing hon­est. I had to look in the mir­ror to see what they were talk­ing about. Truth is, what an hon­our, wow! What can I say? Ap­par­ently hav­ing a nice back­side is a big thing. You moved from the UK to the US when you were in your 20s. What was the big­gest cul­tural hur­dle you had to over­come? The big­gest cul­tural hur­dle was the “big­ness” of Amer­ica. Ev­ery­thing from the in­fra­struc­ture to some of the per­son­al­i­ties – it’s the first thing you no­tice. I re­ally loved com­ing to Amer­ica early in my ca­reer. I got used to it very quickly. You have two kids. What is the most im­por­tant thing you have learnt through fa­ther­hood? And the most ridicu­lous? Most im­por­tant is to be hon­est [with] your chil­dren. And most ridicu­lous is… [Pauses.] What’s the most ridicu­lous thing I’ve learnt? The most ridicu­lous is that when my chil­dren say they’re go­ing to bed, they’re not ac­tu­ally go­ing to bed. They say they are, but they’re def­i­nitely not. You’re a sex sym­bol to mil­lions. Who keeps your head from get­ting too big when those Sex­i­est Man Alive pho­to­shoot ap­proaches start rolling in? Prob­a­bly my mum… Good ol’ Mum. Early in your TV ca­reer, you played a parachute in­struc­tor, a pizza de­liv­ery man and a pest con­troller. We know you are an adren­a­line junkie and stay­ing fit prob­a­bly rules out pizza from your diet. So let’s talk pest con­trol: just how squea­mish are you when it comes to killing spi­ders? I’ve got this rule not to kill any liv­ing an­i­mal, so if I do see a spi­der – and I’m not a fan, I’m ba­si­cally arachno­pho­bic – again, I call my mum.

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