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Idrissa Akuna "Idris" Elba (born 6 September 1972) is a British television, theatre, and film actor who has starred in both British and American productions. Idris Elba grew up in Hackney, East London. One of his first acting roles was in the soap opera Family Affairs. He has worked in a variety of TV roles including Ultraviolet and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. He is also known for playing Russell "Stringer" Bell, the drug dealer who aspired to become a high powered businessman, in HBO's The Wire. Elba is also a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis / Big Driis the Londoner, and a hip-hop soul recording artist.

In 2009, Elba began playing a character in NBC's television hit series The Office. He was in six episodes playing Charles Miner, Michael Scott's new boss. In 2010 he will be seen in Dark Castle Entertainment's adaptation of DC/Vertigo’s The Losers under the direction of Sylvain White in the role of Roque, the second-in-command of a black-ops team out for revenge against a government that did them wrong as well as the thriller Takers starring Hayden Christensen, T.I., and Paul Walker. In September 2009, Elba inked a deal to star as the lead role in a 6-part BBC television show called Luther to air sometime in 2010.

Early life

Elba, an only child, was born Idrissa Akuna Elba, and shortened his first name at school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. His father is Sierra Leoneanmarker and his mother is Ghanaianmarker. Elba grew up in East Hammarker. He began helping an uncle with his wedding-DJ business at age 14, and within a year had started his own DJ company with some friends. He left school at 16 and won a place in the National Youth Music Theatre—thanks to a £1,500 Prince’s Trust grant – but then ended up having to do everything from tire-fitting to cold-call advertising sales to pay the rent between roles in Crimewatch murder reconstructions. He was working in nightclubs under the DJ nickname Big Driis by the age of 19, but began auditioning for television parts in his early twenties. After a stint in the National Youth Music Theatre, Elba worked the night shift at a Ford factory in Dagenhammarker, Londonmarker in 1989 and '90. Elba started acting in secondary school (Trinity Comprehensive, Barking Road, Canning Town) with encouragement from his drama teacher (Susan McPhee).

Television work

Although his film, television, and stage work officially commenced around 1992, in 1995 he landed his first role on a series called Bramwell, a medical drama set in 1890s England. Elba's first credited role arrived in 1995, with a supporting role as a gigolo on the episode of the farcical series Absolutely Fabulous, entitled "Sex." Many supporting roles on British television followed, including such series as The Bill, Degrees of Error, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, and The Governor. He then joined the cast of the soap opera Family Affairs and rose to prominence in the acclaimed serial Ultraviolet. Elba went on to appear in a more established television series, Dangerfield, in 1999 as a forensic scientist.

Soon, however, he decided to move to New York City. He returned to England occasionally for a job, such as a part in one of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, a top-rated crime series. In 2001, Elba acted as Achilles in the stage play Troilus and Cressida in NYC. After a supporting turn on a 2001 episode of Law & Order, Elba landed a starring role on a 2002 HBO cop drama, The Wire. From 2002 to 2004, Elba portrayed Russell "Stringer" Bell in the HBO drama series, perhaps his best known role. In 2005, he also portrayed Captain Augustin Muganza in Sometimes in April, an HBO film about the Rwandan Genocide. Elba also appeared on the 2007 Black Entertainment Television special Black Men:The Truth. Elba also appeared in the role of Charlie Kgotso in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency opposite Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose, which filmed in Botswana. The series premiered on 23 March 2008, Easter Sunday, on Britain's most popular TV channel, BBC One, receiving a high 6.3 million viewers and 27% of the audience share.

In January 2009, it was reported per Variety that Elba will portray Charles Miner, a new rival to Dunder Mifflin regional manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) for NBC's The Office. Elba appeared in a six episode story arc later in the 2009 season as well as the season finale. In September 2009, Elba inked a deal to star as the lead role in a 6-part BBC television show called Luther to air sometime in 2010. In October 2009, it was announced that Elba will executive produce an untitled legal drama for NBC.

Film career

2001–2007

Elba appeared in Buffalo Soldiers in 2001 alongside Joaquin Phoenix but, the film's negative depiction of American soldiers stationed in Germany just before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was deemed too politically insensitive, and it vanished quickly from theaters. In 2005, he portrayed Rev. Frank, a Southern Baptist minister and gospel music hopeful threatened by the arrival of an old friend who challenges his pastoral position, in Rob Hardy's spiritual drama The Gospel. Elba portrayed a scientist and partner of Hilary Swank's professional debunker of religious myths in Stephen Hopkins' gothic, biblically themed 2007 horror picture The Reaping.

In 2006, Elba also signed on as the lead of the 2007 comedy Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, playing Monty, a blue-collar mechanic who falls in love with a six-figure attorney (Gabrielle Union) and finds the relationship threatened by the re-arrival of his ex-wife. He also joined the supporting cast of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's 28 Weeks Later, the horror-themed sequel to Danny Boyle's 2002 zombie picture 28 Days Later also released in 2007. He played "Tango" in the 2007 thriller American Gangster alongside Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. He filmed This Christmas with Chris Brown, Mekhi Phifer, Loretta Devine and Regina King, which brought in nearly $50 million at the box office in 2007.

2008–present

In 2008, Elba starred in the horror film Prom Night and Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla. In January 2009, Elba starred in horror film The Unborn. He also starred in Obsessed, alongside Beyonce Knowles and Ali Larter, as an asset manager who has a beautiful wife (Knowles) and thriving career until a temp office worker (Larter) begins stalking him. Obsessed was a box office success after it took in $28 million in its opening weekend. Obsessed was released on DVD on August 4, 2009[104110].

Elba will star in Dark Castle's adaptation of DC/Vertigo’s The Losers. He will be under the direction of Sylvain White in the role of Roque, the second-in-command of a black-ops team out for revenge against a government that did them wrong. Filming will take place in Puerto Rico and the movie is scheduled for release in April 2010. Elba will be seen in the 2010 thriller Takers also starring Hayden Christensen, T.I., and Paul Walker. Elba is currently filming the 2010 film Legacy. He posted a picture of himself from the set on his Twitter page. In the film, Elba portrays a black ops soldier Malcolm who returns to Brooklyn, after a failed mission in Eastern Europe, where he undergoes a journey looking for retribution. Elba has joined the cast of Kenneth Branagh's upcoming Thor film, in which he will play Heimdall.

Music career

In 2001, Elba appeared in music videos for Fat Joe and Angie Stone. In 2006, Elba recorded the four-song EP Big Man for Hevlar Records. He also co-produced and performed on the intro to Jay-Z's 2007 album American Gangster. He also DJ'd at the 2007 NBA All Star parties at the Venetian Hotel and Ice House Lounge in Las Vegasmarker. Elba also appeared in the Respect My Conglomerate[104111] music video for Busta Rhymes's 2009 Back on My BS album. In July 2009, Elba was the DJ for BET's new series "Rising Icons". Elba also announced the release of his first single "Please Be True." Elba is currently working on his second EP, and plans to tour Europe in late 2009. In the August 2009 issue of Essence magazine, Elba announced the name of his six-song EP as Kings Among Kings.

Personal life

Elba was married to Dormowa Sherman, a Liberian actress, writer and dancer. The two have a daughter named Isan, born in 2002. Though the two split four years after the birth of their child, it is rumored that they are still very good friends. They have been photographed out together on many occasions since the divorce, but neither care to comment on speculations. Elba hangs out with rappers such as Diddy and Ludacris and spends much of his time in Atlantamarker where he owns a house and lives close to his daughter. He is represented by ICM. In April 2009, it was announced that Elba has become an Anti-Crime Ambassador.

Image

He was featured as one of the "Ten Hottest Men on the Planet" in the April 2004 issue of Essence magazine and again in the November 2005 issue. Idris was chosen as one of People Magazine's annual 100 Most Beautiful People in the World, in May 2007. Elba appeared on the August 2009 cover of Essence magazine.

Filmography

Year Film/Television Role Notes and Awards
1995 Absolutely Fabulous Gigolo Ep: Sex
1997 Family Affairs Tim Webster
1998 Ultraviolet Vaughan Rice
1999 Belle maman Grégoire
Dangerfield Matt Gregory
2000 Sorted Jam
In Defence PC Paul Fraser (segment 3)
2001 Buffalo Soldiers Kimborough
2002 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Robert Gabriel Ep: Payment in Blood
The Wire Russell 'Stringer' Bell
2003 One Love Aaron
2005 Sometimes in April Augustin Muganza Nominated – Black Reel Awards Best Actor Network/Cable
Nominated – Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Mini-Series/Television Movie
The Gospel Charles Frank Nominated – Black Reel Awards Best Actor
2007 Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls Monty James Nominated – BET Awards Best Actor
The Reaping Ben
28 Weeks Later General Stone
American Gangster Tango Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture
This Christmas Quentin Whitfield
2008 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Charles Gotso
Prom Night Detective Winn
RocknRolla Mumbles
The Human Contract Larry
2009 The Unborn Arthur Wyndham
The Office Charles Miner appearing in several season 5 episodes
Obsessed Derek Charles
2010 Takers Gordon Jennings
Legacy Malcolm Gray
The Losers Roque
2011 Thor Heimdall


Awards/nominations









References



External links




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