Idris Elba is a strikingly good-looking guy, but let’s not get into that or we won’t be able to talk about anything else here. The description of his looks deserves another article entirely. The Wire actor turns 45 today and here we’ll limit ourselves to having a look at some of the best performances of this ridiculously talented actor. These performances span both TV and cinema as this British actor has left an indelible impression on both mediums. Let’s start with the best, but the list does not have a particular order.
1) When Idris Elba taught us how to die like a badass in The Wire: According to many critics, The Wire is the best drama anybody ever saw on television, and this scribe heartily agrees. Idris Elba’s performance as the drug trafficker Stringer Bell is probably the best of his career. Somebody somewhere said if you make Idris Elba sit on a donkey, and dressed in skirts – he’ll manage to rock that look and his looks are a big part of his character in The Wire – the suave, businesslike man who straddles both the worlds of drug trafficking: the high rises and the streets. For me, after Michael K. Williams’s Omar Little, Stringer Bell is my favourite character in the series and that is all thanks to Idris Elba’s measured performance and very believable street American accent.
2) When he became a charismatically brilliant detective: Idris Elba stars in this BBC crime drama as a Detective Chief Inspector who, while brilliant and dedicated, is prone to violent outbursts. Apart from the horrible crimes he solves, he also has to deal with the estrangement and he is certainly not good at dealing with things. This is not Sherlock – a cold, calculating mind, although both men share a resemblance in terms of their ability to nail the culprits. An engaging drama, Luther is a must watch if you’re bored with run of the mill crime shows and want to watch a nuanced drama instead.
3) When the gatekeeper of Asgard decided to fight: Let’s face it. Idris Elba looks as amazing as a drug dealer as he looks as a freaking Norse god. Heimdall to be precise – protector of the Asgardian gods. In this scene, when Asgard is invaded, Heimdall rises to the ocassion. This was the first real action Heimdall saw in the film and it was like watching a usually calm tiger going all ferocious on.
4) When he encapsulated what being somebody like Nelson Mandela is about: Idris Elba as Madiba was like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fitting together perfectly. Even though the film itself was a little muddled, there is no denying the fact that Idris Elba was absolutely perfect as Nelson Mandela.
5) When he exuded unadulterated menace as Shere Khan in The Jungle Book: The tiger is the biggest and most powerful cat in the jungle and for a live-action version, the villain of the story needed a deep voice that could believably scare the hell out of other animals. Enter Idris Elba. Turns out, the dude sounds as good as he looks.