Is Idris Elba the new James Bond? Or much more?

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He’s a DJ, radio host, podcaster, fashion brand head and of course an actor. Indeed, Idris Elba, the first black man to play James Bond, is a man who believes he is only engaging “his creative ego”. Sumita Chakraborty finds out more about the iconic Idris Elba.

From being a DJ, doorman, extra and even drug dealer, to being an actor par excellence who as Stringer Bell in the ‘Wire’ and Luther in the British TV series ‘Luther’ became iconic. Of course, his character as Nelson Mandela in the biographical film ‘Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom’ brought him further into the spotlight. And how! Meet Idris Elba, the first black man supposedly slated to essay the role of the dapper James Bond in 007 series. He has been nominated for the Golden Globe award twice. He portrayed the dark Heimdall in Thor and its sequels Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.

He also starred in a whole host of big banners for which he received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actor, and Molly’s Game. His deep baritone voice became the voice of Chief Bogo in Zootopia, Sher Khan in the live action/CGI adaptation of The Jungle Book and Fluke in Finding Dory. He made his directorial debut in 2018 with an adaptation of the 1992 novel Yardie. In 2021, he portrayed Bloodsport in The Suicide Squad, set in the DC Extended Universe. And now put your hands together… he’s going to be the first black man to be the iconic James Bond. It all started when he was working as a bouncer at a club where he was offered a teeny weeny role in ‘Wire’. Cut to: Twenty years later, Idris Elba became a prime character in the same show. Indeed, it’s been a magical journey for this magical man for not only did he fight to get a big break, he had to cope with losing his dad and getting into a deep dark slippery zone which threatened to engulf him.

Fingers in Many Pies

He’s man who wears many hats. He’s currently slated to be James Bond, was in the blockbuster The Suicide Squad. He’s a rapper, hosts a podcast, has just released his fashion line of Tees. Earlier in 2021, he signed a deal with HarperCollins to write children’s books. He along with his third wife is also a social activist. though I can’t explain exactly where it comes from, is always there.” Adding, “People have criticized me for doing a lot of things. But creativity’s a real balancer for me. I definitely used work to exorcise demons, there’s no doubt about that,”

From Sierra Leone to England

And work he did to achieve name, fame and immense wealth. Indeed, it is truly the proverbial ‘rags to riches’ story. His parents migrated from Sierra Leone to England as they wanted to make their mark in a new country. As a child growing up in England, Idris hated his full Sierra Leonean name, Idrissa. But soon he realized that his identity made him unique. After school, Idris worked with his dad at a car factory. But soon his love for music made him DJ under the stage name Big Driis. Idris says, “Stringer Bell came along at a junction in my life when I was, like, ‘This guy is trying to do better, too.’ In 1997, he signed played Tim in Family Affairs, a daily soap opera that broadcast on the newly launched Channel 5. In his late 20s, Idris moved to Manhattan with his then wife Hanne Norgaad. It was a bleak time – there was just a guest appearance on Law & Order and Troilus And Cressida. Life was tough and he worked as a bouncer for some time. There he was noticed by a casting director and he got a small part in the ‘Wire’.

US Calling

Idris says, “I’d moved to America. I’d been through all sorts of life stuff there. I was trying to do things better, do things right. Stringer came along at a junction in my life when I was, like, ‘This guy is trying to do better, too, this guy’s trying to be smarter, too.’ I could relate. Re-late.” After that, he got a coveted part, as Nelson Mandela in Justin Chadwick’s 2013 biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, playing Mandela and winding up with a Golden Globe nomination. There was another nomination for Netflix’s Beasts Of No Nation, a war drama that he co-produced. Afterwards, Elba lent his voice to a succession of animated Disney films. He worked with Aaron Sorkin on Molly’s Game. He was the villain, Macavity, in Tom Hooper’s widely maligned Cats. That year he made a fifth, final, season of Luther, restoring enough industry clout along the way to fund his directorial debut, a gangster film called Yardie.

Very Private

In his personal life, Idris is a very private person. he has been married thrice. He had a daughter with his first wife; they divorced in 2003. In 2006, Elba was briefly married to an American lawyer, Sonya Hamlin. And now he’s married to a Canadian lawyer Sabrina Dhowre. Today, Idris is counted as one of the richest actors in the world. But even at the age of 48, he refuses to sit still. His fingers are still in different pies. Of course, acting is his first love. And now that there was the news that Idris had been picked out to play 007 after Daniel Craig, supposedly, this gorgeous actor is ‘prep’ing to be the dapper James Bond. His friends, he says, keep calling him ‘James Bond’. Indeed, shaken but not stirred