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