This week’s column features a round-table interview with actor, producer, musician, DJ and all-around hottie — Idris Elba — star of the upcoming heist caper “Takers.”
The British actor first came to the attention of American audiences as the character Stringer Bell on the critically acclaimed HBO series “The Wire.”
Elba has since gone on to star in a range of films including “Obsessed” with Beyonce; Tyler Perry’s “Daddy’s Little Girls” with Gabrielle Union and the DC Comics flick “The Losers” opposite Zoe Saldana.
On why he chose Boston to promote “Takers”:
I like it here. I like the people here. It reminds me of home, England ... It has a European feel to it. The people are funny and they’ve got a sense of humor.
On why he accepted the role in “Takers”:
I love heist films. Italian Job. Bank Job. I wanted to be a part of one. This script is a good read. And then, John Luessenhop, the director has also been really passionate. I had a meeting with him. And he wanted to see “Heat” … a cooler version of “Heat” … a younger version of “Heat.” I think he definitely achieved it.
On working on a guys [action] film:
Well, you know, it took us 45 days to shoot the film. The big action sequences are what they are. They take a long time to shoot. All the stuff with the boys was great fun. Everyone’s got a personality of their own and you can see it in the film. But, in real life it was real hard to get us to shut up and start working, especially Tip and Chris. Everyone’s sort of snapping on each other.
On his two passions, acting and music:
I never speak to musicians about music. When we’re acting, we’re acting. That’s it. My music is quite private. Music is definitely sort of therapy for me. I get it out my system. I spend time with it. I’m an actor. That’s where I sort of make my bread and butter.
On his production company and the next phase of his career:
It’s definitely a natural progression for me as an actor. I’ve been an actor for a long time and the next few stages for me are in production, directing and writing. The first installment of that was a film I did called “Legacy.” It’s a very small film that I’ve done and it’s one of my favorite films that I’ve done. In the future, I’m still trying to find young writers that have great material and a vision to make it work. And, I’ll be a vessel for them to sort of push that through until I can really stand on my own as a production company and so, I’m partnering up with other producers and filmmakers. It’s definitely something I’m passionate about and I’ll be doing it soon.
On acting versus producing:
I’m leaning toward producing a little bit more. Some of the roles that I’m getting or some of the roles that are out there are just not challenging enough or exciting enough. And, I try not to repeat myself in roles, you know. I could have played a number of characters that were just like Stringer Bell from “The Wire.” And, I just couldn’t. I think this is the most gangster role I’ve done since “American Gangster.”
On his character’s [Gordon Cozier] wardrobe:
We were told that everyone was gonna to wear suits. Clint Culpepper, who is sort of a fiercely opinionated person was like ‘I want to see actors, suits, good looking men’ and that was his whole business. One of my first jobs when I do a film is speak to the director, speak to the writer and then speak to the costume designer. ‘Cause that’s how I define who this person is when I put the clothes [on] and sort of figure out where he is and then I work the rest.
On how he keeps grounded for him and his 8-year-old daughter:
There’s a clear separation. I’m vigilant about keeping my privacy and our privacy. My daughter doesn’t actually like it when we’re out and we’re in a restaurant and someone wants to take a picture. I try to make strides to keep my private life to the left and my work over there. It’s tough. Part of your success is having the notoriety and being larger than life.
“Takers” is due out in theatres on Aug. 27!
Scullers Jazz Club also brings in Grammy Award winner Patti Austin the weekend of Aug. 13 and 14.
R&B/Neo-Soul singer, Dwele returns to Showcase Live at Patriot Place in Foxborough on Thursday, Aug. 19.
The Wilbur Theatre presents stand-up comedy with Marlon and Shawn Wayans on Saturday, Aug. 21.
On Sunday, Aug. 22 Elan Trotman performs at Scullers Jazz Club for one show at 8 p.m.
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