Steal­ing the show

The pos­si­bil­ity of big-time fame hasn’t en­tered Idris Elba’s mind.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - by MAdeLeiNe MARR

YOU may re­call him as the yup­pie hus­band in Ob­sessed, the drug deal­ing mas­ter­mind in HBO’s The Wire or the noble cop in Prom Night. But Idris Elba is hard for some fans to place.

“Movie star? Nah,” Elba says dur­ing a Mi­ami press stop for his lat­est movie, Tak­ers. “I don’t even know what that means.”

In Tak­ers, the Bri­tish hunk has the lead­ing role as Gor­don Co­zier, the leader of a pack of dap­per bank rob­bers. But the pos­si­bil­ity of big-time fame hasn’t en­tered Elba’s mind.

“I’ve never had that sort of mass hys­te­ria,” Elba ad­mit­ted. “Some­times I’ll be walk­ing around mind­ing my own busi­ness in a shop or some­thing and some­one will be look­ing at me and I’m not sure why, then I re­mem­ber.”

Tak­ers looks like it may be an end-of-the­sum­mer hit. Think Ocean’s 11, mi­nus the smirks, with a dash of Quentin Taranti­nos­tyle gun­play. The movie, based on the book by Gene Brewer ( K-PAX) and helmed by sec­ond-time di­rec­tor John Luessen­hop ( Lock­down), is hard­core.

What this zippy cops-and-rob­bers tale has in com­mon with the pop­u­lar Ocean’s fran­chise is non­stop ac­tion and an eye-candy en­sem­ble cast.

Elba’s hand­some hench­men in­clude Fast & The Fu­ri­ous Paul Walker, Hay­den Chris­tensen ( Jumper), Michael Ealy ( Seven Pounds) and em­bat­tled singer Chris Brown. The LAPD cops on their trail are Matt Dil­lon and Jay Her­nan­dez ( Crazy/Beau­ti­ful).

The gang de­cides to take on a doozy of a job in­volv­ing an ar­moured truck and planned by a re­cently paroled co­hort (rapper T.I.) who went to jail for their last ven­ture.

Be­cause the rob­bers are so ef­fort­lessly slick and the cops so very or­di­nary, you find your­self root­ing for the bad guys.

“Ev­ery­one’s seen heist films be­fore, when there’s one ac­tion se­quence af­ter an­other,” Elba said. “But Tak­ers gives an op­por­tu­nity to see the mind be­hind these peo­ple. Here’s a guy who’s a ca­reer crim­i­nal, been do­ing this for most of his life. You want to know what kind of per­son that is. You want to know what’s go­ing on be­hind closed doors.”

Within the plot, other re­la­tion­ships are ex­plored, mak­ing the char­ac­ters more than two-di­men­sional.

“I think films are more ap­peal­ing when you can get in­volved with the char­ac­ters, they cre­ate a sort of magic, and you en­joy watch­ing them do bad (stuff),” Elba said, laugh­ing. No doubt this was a fun shoot. “It’s a big cast and we def­i­nitely had time to get to know each other a lit­tle bit. That made a lot of dif­fer­ence to our chem­istry on screen.” Rock­ing de­signer duds was an­other perk. “I wear suits a lot in real life,” said Elba, who turns 38 next month. “So it’s fun to do it on film. We’re all sort of look­ing slick. That was cool.”

Elba also shows off his na­tive ac­cent, which many fans haven’t heard since Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, or his stint on Brit sit­com Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous.

“Many peo­ple think I’m Amer­i­can,” he said. “That feels good – it means I’m do­ing my job.”

Next up: star­ring in and pro­duc­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller Legacy. Elba plays a sol­dier re­turn­ing from duty who holes up in a ho­tel and plays over his life.

“I’m re­ally proud of it. It was made for very lit­tle money and the fes­ti­vals are re­ally tak­ing to it. Pretty much 80% is me.”

Tak­ers’ who’s who

Feast your eyes on the studly cast of Tak­ers:

Chris Brown: The For­ever singer plays Jesse, the crew’s run­ner who’s still a lit­tle green. Brown, who has also acted in Stomp The Yard and TV’s The O.C. shows off, do­ing all his own stunts.

Hay­den Chris­tensen: Young Anakin is all grown up. AJ’s got cool, retro style, show­ing off a toothy grin, killer eyes and swag­ger to spare.

Matt Dil­lon: A worka­holic cop who has a

n Tak­ers opens in cine­mas na­tion­wide to­day. lit­tle anger man­age­ment prob­lem. The Hollywood sur­vivor hasn’t been this good since Crash.

Michael Ealy: The for­mer model – he was the dream­boat in Bey­once’s Halo video – plays Jesse’s older (wiser) brother.

Idris Elba: Speak­ing of Bey­once, Elba grabbed au­di­ence’s at­ten­tion as her wimpy hubby in Ob­sessed. Now he’s man­ning up as the leader of the pack.

Tip “T.I.” Har­ris: Art im­i­tated life for the rapper, who was in and out of le­gal limbo dur­ing film­ing on a weapons pos­ses­sions charge. He plays Ghost, who mas­ter­minds the heist with ques­tion­able Rus­sians he met in prison.

Jay Her­nan­dez: The Quar­an­tine cutie plays a fam­ily man and good cop to Dil­lon’s bad cop rou­tine. But does he har­bor a se­cret?

Paul Walker: This all-Amer­i­can boy is Elba’s right-hand man. All we can say is that’s one tall glass of wa­ter. – The Mi­ami Her­ald/ McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

Hard to place: ‘Many peo­ple think I’m Amer­i­can. That feels good – it means I’m do­ing my job,’ says Idris Elba.

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