Damson Idris is not related to Idris Elba — though his charming good looks and acting abilities have led more than a few to think so.
“It’s so funny, because the first time I met Idris Elba was at my good friend Edward, he was doing like a little party honoring Spike Lee in London,” Idris recollected during his April 21 conversation on Showtimes’s “Desus & Mero.”
“It was all these people there and Idris Elba was like, ‘Hey, come over here.’ I walk over to him and he’s like, ‘I know you, I know you, they always ask if you’re my little brother. You’re doing good, you’re doing good,’” he continued.
Idris, 30, is the star of Fox’s hit show “Snowfall” that shows the onset and after-effects of the crack epidemic in South Central Los Angeles. Like Elba’s breakout role as Stringer Bell on “The Wire,” Idris plays Franklin Saint, a drug dealer who had the chance to make the most out of his life by attending college before stepping into the pitfalls of dope dealing.
Knowing the parallels shared between himself and Elba — both being British actors with similar breakout roles — the younger actor said Elba has become a mentor.
“Now I can call him on the phone. And I can ask for advice, man. This guy, Idris Elba, is an absolute G,” he said. “I’m so indebted to him because when I was getting ‘Snowfall,’ when I was in the thick of it — probably I met him around season 2, 3 — I would call him and ask about ‘The Wire.’ I was like, ‘Yo, how were you when you walked into a room?’ ‘Were you British when you walked into a room?’ He was like, ‘No, I was String[er].’”
He continued, “I was like, man, he motivates me so much, he has transcended what it is to be in this art form, he’s a transformative actor, he works everywhere, he creates opportunities everywhere, and he’s still the same cool guy, still DJing. He’s just a vibe, man. I love him. I like to call him my big brother.”
While Elba’s fans have long praised him for his days on “The Wire,” the actor has shared that his feelings about the role are bittersweet. On one hand Stringer Bell was his career launchpad, and on the other his character did little to represent a positive image.
“We’re all idolizing Stringer Bell, but who are we really idolizing? Is it OK to pump a community full of heroin, but because you’re smart at it that makes you cool?”
Since then he has gone on to star in several films that have shown the range of his acting abilities, as well as the gamut of relatable characters.