Idris Elba Plays Up His Bad Boy Image in Esquire Interview

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idris elba esquireIt appears actor Idris Elba didn’t have to dig very deep to play the drug kingpin character Stringer Bell in the popular, now-canceled series, The Wire.

The 41-year old actor has starred in his fair share of fantasies courtesy of the millions of adoring fans who fancy him a sex symbol. Elba woos the ladies again on the cover of Esquire’s November issue. His fans may or may not be in for a surprise however, as Elba reveals he’s no prince charming.

Check out excerpts of the interview below where Elba also dishes on taking on the role of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

His vibe:

“Me! The way I live my life, I’m two drinks from being in the tabloids every day,” he said. “I’m no national treasure. I’m a f***ing dutty rude boy!”

His old hustlin’ days:

“You got to remember, I was hustling back then,” he recalled. “And I mean huss-ell-ing. I was working the door at Caroline’s Comedy Club. Selling weed, 10 spots, everything, just to make money because the acting weren’t coming in fast enough.”

On the idea of playing James Bond:

“If it f***ing happens, it’s the will of the nation. It’s not because of me. Everywhere I go people are saying, ‘You’d be a great Bond.’ And I want to ask them, ‘Are you saying that because it’s trendy or because you mean it?’ But you can tell by looking in their eyes, they mean it!”

Playing Mandela:

“People are going to judge me for this role,” he said. “I don’t look like Mandela, some say I don’t deserve it. Whatever. For me, it’s important I am who I am, as I present this piece to the world. I’m 40 and I’ve had a great career. I’m alright to be myself at this point. Look, if I never work again, I don’t care. I did my bit, you know?”

The reaction he received when he first appeared as Mandela on set:

“We did our final checks, and then me and my troops walked in. ANC—boom! I had the haircut. Pa-pow! Young Mandela at his prime! I was f***ing nervous, because this was Soweto – that’s like someone playing Jay Z going into Brooklyn. But I’m telling you, man — people were crying. First take, I’m not even joking. First they were like, ‘It’s Idris Elba’. Then, ‘It’s Idris Elba playing Madiba’ (Mandela’s clan name).Then it’s like, ‘S**t—it’s Madiba!’ It was so layered.”

On the critics of the film:

“I got to tell you something, man, as arrogant as this might sound, I actually don’t care what the press think. Because as a memoir to Mr. Mandela, this film is one of the greatest gifts I think we can give to the Mandela family.”

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