Idris Elba interview: Hobbs & Shaw

“I like to challenge myself also and face down my fears. I’ve had this need to make sure that I’m not being prevented from doing something out of fear.”

The British action powerhouse talks about working on the Fast and Furious series, as well as his parenting style, directing plans, love of music and life’s ambitions…


Q: Idris, are you excited about being part of the Fast & Furious spin-off franchise?

ELBA: I really enjoyed this chance to work on a big action film like that because you learn a lot from that experience. Dwayne and Jason are masters of that genre and when you’re on a big set like that it gives you the feel for how that kind of a movie works. It’s one more step for me.

Q: Your fame has skyrocketed in recent years. Does it ever seem slightly unreal to you?

ELBA: I’m still shocked by how I’ve managed to reach these great heights after 25 years of hard work and a lot of struggles during that time. But it makes me want to work harder than ever.

I still remember the bad times having to sleep in a van with for a couple of months in New York and going to auditions in the morning and earning a little money DJing at night. It was tough to get any decent work because no one liked my accent (in the U.S.). I didn’t really feel settled until I got The Wire (in 2002) and that changed everything.

Q: Acting seems to come very naturally to you. Is it the same way with DJing which was your first job as a teenager before you ever started acting?

ELBA: I started DJing first as a way of making money and at the same time it was a way of expressing my creativity. Music is a universal language and a good DJ is someone who acts as a vibe-builder.

My chalenge as a DJ is to go to a club or an arena, figure out the environment and the mood, and get the whole crowd turned onto the right frequencies. I want to be able to get everyone hooked on the beat and the mood so that people are going “Wow!”

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