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Idrissa Akuna "Idris" Elba (/ˈɪdrəs ˈɛlbə/; born 6 September 1972) is a British actor, producer, singer, rapper, and DJ.[3] He is best known for his portrayal of drug lord and aspiring businessman Russell "Stringer" Bell in the HBO series The Wire,[4] Detective John Luther in the BBC One series Luther, and Nelson Mandela in the biographical film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Elba has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film, winning one for Best Actor, as well as earning four Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

Elba has appeared in films such as American Gangster (2007), Takers (2010), Thor (2011), Prometheus (2012), Pacific Rim (2013), and Thor: The Dark World (2013). In addition to his acting work, he is a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis (or Big Driis the Londoner) and a hip-hop soul musician.

Early life

Elba was born in Hackney, London. His father Winston was a Sierra Leonean who worked at a Ford motor factory, and his mother Eve was a Ghanaian who had a clerical job. Elba's parents married in Sierra Leone and later moved to London. Elba was raised in East Ham, and shortened his first name at school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. He began helping an uncle with his wedding DJ business in 1986; within a year, he had started his own DJ company with some of his friends.

Elba left school in 1988 and won a place in the National Youth Music Theatre, thanks to a £1,500 Prince's Trust grant. He worked in various jobs, such as tyre-fitting and cold-call advertising sales, to earn an income between roles in Crimewatch murder reconstructions. He was working in nightclubs under the DJ nickname Big Driis at the age of 19, but began auditioning for television parts in his early twenties. After a stint in the National Youth Music Theatre, he worked the night shift at Ford Dagenham.

Acting career

Television

In 1995, Elba landed his first role on a series called Bramwell, a medical drama set in 1890s England. He played the lead character in an episode of the first season, an African petty thief named Charlie Carter, who lost his white wife to childbirth and had to figure out how to support his newborn daughter. His first credited role arrived in 1995, with a supporting role as a gigolo on the "Sex" episode of Absolutely Fabulous. Many supporting roles on British television followed, including series such as The Bill and The Ruth Rendell Mysteries. He joined the cast of the soap opera Family Affairs, and went on to appear in the television serial Ultraviolet and later in Dangerfield. He decided to move to New York City soon after. He returned to England occasionally for a television role, such as a part in one of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. In 2001, Elba played Achilles in a stage production of Troilus and Cressida in New York City.

After a supporting turn on a 2001 episode of Law & Order, Elba landed a starring role on a 2002 HBO drama, The Wire. From 2002 to 2004, Elba portrayed Russell "Stringer" Bell in the HBO drama series, perhaps his best-known role in the US. In 2005, he portrayed Captain Augustin Muganza in Sometimes in April, an HBO film about the Rwandan Genocide. Elba appeared on the 2007 BET special Black Men: The Truth. Elba appeared as Charlie Gotso in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, filmed in Botswana. The series premiered on 23 March 2008, Easter Sunday, on BBC One, receiving a high 6.3 million viewers and 27% of the audience share.

In January 2009, it was reported per Variety that Elba would portray Charles Miner, a new rival to Dunder Mifflin regional manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) for NBC's The Office.[16] Elba appeared in a six episode story arc later in the 2009 season as well as the season finale. In September 2009, Elba signed a deal to star as the lead role in the 6-part BBC television show Luther, which aired in May 2010. In October 2009, it NBC announced Elba as executive producer of an as yet untitled legal drama. He appeared on Showtime's The Big C in 2010. At the 69th Golden Globe Awards telecast on 15 January 2012, Elba won the Award for Best Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for his role on the BBC crime thriller series Luther.

Film

In 2007, Elba signed on as the lead of the 2007 film Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, playing Monty, a blue-collar mechanic who falls in love with an attorney helping him gain custody of his kids, and finds the relationship and his custody hopes threatened by the return of his ex-wife. He appeared in 28 Weeks Later (2007) and This Christmas (2007), which brought in nearly $50 million at the box office in 2007. In 2008, he starred in the horror film Prom Night and RocknRolla.[20] In 2009, he starred in horror film The Unborn and Obsessed. The latter was a box office success, taking $29 million in its opening weekend.

Elba's next film was Legacy (2010), in which he portrayed a black ops soldier who returned to Brooklyn after a failed mission in Eastern Europe, where he undertook a journey looking for retribution. He starred in Dark Castle's adaptation of DC/Vertigo's The Losers, under the direction of Sylvain White, in the role of Roque, the second-in-command of a black-ops team out for revenge against a government that did them wrong. Filming took place in Puerto Rico and the movie was released in April 2010. Elba appeared in the 2010 thriller Takers, also starring Hayden Christensen, Chris Brown, T.I., and Paul Walker. He played Heimdall in Kenneth Branagh's 2011 Thor film (based upon the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name).

In August 2010, Elba signed up to portray the title character in a reboot of James Patterson's Alex Cross film franchise.[19] However in February 2011 he was replaced by Tyler Perry. Elba appeared in the 2012 sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, playing an alcoholic warrior monk tasked with finding Ghost Rider. In February 2012, Elba confirmed that he would portray Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is based on the eponymous autobiography. In June 2012, he portrayed Captain Janek in Prometheus. Elba joined the 2013 film Pacific Rim in the role of Stacker Pentecost.

In January 2014, Elba confirmed that he would be starring in a film adaptation of Luther.


In October 2014, Elba was presented with a MOBO Inspiration Award.
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Music career

In 2001, Elba appeared in music videos for Fat Joe, Angie Stone and English rapper Giggs.[33] In 2006, he recorded the four-song EP Big Man for Hevlar Records. He co-produced and performed on the intro to Jay-Z's 2007 album American Gangster.[34] He DJ'd at the 2007 NBA All Star parties at the The Venetian and Ice House Lounge in Las Vegas.

In July 2009, Elba was the DJ for BET's new series Rising Icons. Elba announced the release of his first single "Please Be True." In the August 2009 issue of Essence magazine, he announced the name of his six-song EP as Kings Among Kings. He released his EP High Class Problems Vol. 1 in the United Kingdom in February 2010, for which he has won many prizes including a Billboard Music Awards nomination.

In 2011, he performed on the intro to Pharoahe Monch's album W.A.R.. In 2012, he co-directed and performed in the Mumford and Sons music video for "Lover of the Light".

In 2014 he produced K. Michelle's "The Rebellious Soul Musical" which debuted on "Vh1" on August 19 2014. [41] In May, Elba featured on Mr Hudson's single Step Into The Shadows. Mr Hudson is also producing his album, slated for released on 24 November, Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela.

Elba has performed a rap for the second album by Noel Fielding and Sergio Pizzorno's band, the Loose Tapestries.

Personal life

The Prince's Trust, which Elba credits with helping to start his career, appointed him its Anti-Crime Ambassador in April 2009.[43] In July 2010, he announced his support for Oona King in her campaign to become the Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London in 2012.

He and his ex-wife Kim Elba have a daughter named Isan, born in 2002. In 2014, Elba's girlfriend, Naiyana Garth, gave birth to her and Elba's first son, Winston.

When asked if he is a religious person, Elba replies that he is more spiritual than religious.He has been a fan of Arsenal FC since he was a teenager.

Popularity

Elba was selected as one of People '​s annual 100 Most Beautiful People in the World in May 2007.

Idris Elba was named Essence '​s annual 2013 Sexiest Man of the Year.

He was also ranked #2 in People '​s annual Sexiest Man Alive in 2013.
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Filmography

Film
Year     Title     Role     Notes
1999     Belle maman     Grégoire    
2000     Sorted     Jam    
2001     Buffalo Soldiers     Kimborough    
2003     One Love     Aaron    
2005     The Gospel     Charles Frank    
2005     Sometimes in April     Augustin    
2007     Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls     Monty James    
2007     The Reaping     Ben    
2007     28 Weeks Later     General Stone    
2007     American Gangster     Tango    
2007     This Christmas     Quentin Whitfield    
2008     Prom Night     Detective Winn    
2008     RocknRolla     Mumbles    
2008     The Human Contract     Larry    
2009     The Unborn     Arthur Wyndham    
2009     Obsessed     Derek Charles    
2010     Takers     Gordon Cozier    
2010     Legacy     Malcolm Gray     Executive producer
2010     The Losers     Roque    
2011     Thor     Heimdall    
2012     Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance     Moreau    
2012     Prometheus     Captain Janek    
2013     Pacific Rim     Stacker Pentecost    
2013     Thor: The Dark World     Heimdall    
2013     Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom     Nelson Mandela    
2014     No Good Deed     Colin Evans     Executive producer
2015     The Gunman     Dupont    
2015     Beasts of No Nation         Filming
2015     The Jungle Book     Shere Khan (voice)    
2016     Finding Dory     Dr. Mobster (voice)    

Television
Year     Title     Role     Notes
1994     2point4 Children     Parachute Instructor     Episode: "Fortuosity"
1994     Space Precinct     Pizza Delivery Man     Episode: "Double Duty"
1995     Absolutely Fabulous     Hilton     Episode: "Sex"
1996     Crocodile Shoes II     Jo-Jo     Episode: "Troubled Man"
1997     Family Affairs     Tim Webster    
1997     Silent Witness     Charlie     Episode: "Blood, Sweat & Tears"
1998     Ultraviolet     Vaughan Rice     6 episodes
1999     Dangerfield     Matt Gregory     12 episodes
2000     In Defence     PC Paul Fraser     1 episode
2001     Law & Order     Lonnie Liston     Episode: "3 Dawg Night"
2002     The Inspector Lynley Mysteries     Robert Gabriel     Episode: "Payment in Blood"
2003     CSI Miami     Angelo Sedaris     Episode: "The Best Defense"
2002–2004     The Wire     Russell "Stringer" Bell     37 episodes
2005     Girlfriends     Paul     Episode: "All in a Panic"
2005     Sometimes in April     Augustin Muganza    
2008     The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency     Charles Gotso     Episode: "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency"
2009     The Office     Charles Miner     7 episodes
2010     The Big C     Lenny     4 episodes
2010     Walk Like a Panther         Executive producer
2011     Aqua Teen Hunger Force     Police Officer     Voice
Episode: "Intervention"
2010–2013     Luther     DCI John Luther     Producer
14 episodes
2011     How Hip Hop Changed the World         Executive producer
2011     Demons Never Die         Executive producer
2012     Idris Elba's How Clubbing Changed the World     Presenter    
2013     Idris Elba: King of Speed     Presenter    
Video games
Year     Title     Role
2011     Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3     SFC "Truck"
2014     FIFA 15     Voice in E3 Trailer
Music videos
Year     Artist     Title     Role     Notes
2012     Mumford and Sons     "Lover of the Light"     Blind Man     Co-director, producer
Discography

EPs

    2006: Big Man
    2009: Kings Among Kings
    2010: High Class Problems Vol. 1
    2014: Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela

Mixtapes

    2011: Merry DriisMas Holiday Mixtape

Awards and nominations
Year     Work     Award     Result
2005     The Gospel     Black Reel Award for Best Actor     Nominated
2005     Sometimes in April     Black Reel Award for Best Actor: T.V. Movie/Cable     Nominated
2005     Sometimes in April     NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special     Nominated
2007     Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls     BET Award for Actors of the Year     Nominated
2007     American Gangster     Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture     Nominated
2008         BET Award for Best Actor     Nominated
2009         BET Award for Best Actor     Nominated
2009     Obsessed     NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture     Nominated
2010         BET Award for Best Actor     Won
2010     Takers     Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble     Nominated
2010     Luther     Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film     Nominated
2011     Takers     NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture     Nominated
2011         BET Award for Best Actor     Won
2011     Luther     NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special     Won
2011     The Big C     Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series     Nominated
2011     Luther     Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film     Won
2011     Luther     Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie     Nominated
2011     Luther     Satellite Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film     Nominated
2012     Luther     Black Reel Award for Best Actor: T.V. Movie/Cable     Won
2012     Luther     Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie     Nominated
2012         BET Award for Best Actor     Nominated
2014     Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom     Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama     Nominated
2014     Luther     Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film     Nominated
2014     Luther     NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special     Won
2014     Luther     Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie     Nominated
...