TAKERS’ Idris Elba is an actor on the rise in Hollywood

  Ever since getting his first breakout role as Stringer Bell on The Wire, British actor Idris Elba has played a variety of characters from a man with Beyonce Knowles as his wife in Obsessed to a drug-dealing rival of Oscar-winner Denzel Washington in American Gangster.

  In Takers, Elba stars alongside Paul Walker, Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen as the leader of a notorious group of criminals that execute perfectly planned bank heists that baffles police. When the group attempts another robbery with extremely high stakes, the crew may find their plans interrupted by a veteran detective (Matt Dillon) who is determined to solve the case of their previous robbery.

  Elba was in town for the film’s press tour and The Beacon has the privilege to sit down with the actor.

  Elba first got involved with Takers when he was given a first look at script given to him by producer Will Packer, in which Elba really liked the script.

  Elba and Packer have collaborated on many films together like This Christmas and Obsessed. Elba first collaborated with producer Will Packer in 2005 with his role in The Gospel.

  “I was very fortunate to get the role of Reverend Frank in The Gospel, which could have gone to any number of actors,” Elba says. “He gave me a shot.”

  Elba says that he likes to collaborate with Packer because he is a force to reckon with and that he likes to challenge himself and the filmmakers he works with.

  Elba has been using a standard American accent to play characters in American-produced films such as The Losers and The Reaping. Even though he says it did not make a difference to him as an actor to use his native British accent in Takers, he says that it is nice to represent his culture in an American film.

  “It was my choice to use my accent or not,” Elba says. “It was originally written as an American and it was a choice that made the film has a more international feel.”

  Aside from with the cast members who play his motley crew of criminals, Elba was able to work with British Oscar-nominated actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste, who plays his sister Naomi.

  “She brought what I wanted to see in this character, which is the Afro-Caribbean experience for those who are of Afro-Caribbean descent in England that has never been put on television or on films much,” Elba says. “While she is Jamaican and I am West African, we understand we are from in London and it was great doing it.”

  Not only is Elba just an actor, but he also happens to be Anti-Crime Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, which is Prince Charles’ personal foundation.

  “Basically what we do is bring awareness to the situation that is happening in England and in London, where kids as young as twelve are in gangs and there are tons of criminal activities,” Elba says. “What I want to do is bring that awareness to certain groups around the world that not only includes police and governing bodies, but parent association groups. Every now and again, I go to the streets and speak with kids about crime. When I was doing Luther, I invited some of the kids to come on the set to see me work.”

  Elba has two upcoming films that include a movie that he produced called Legacy in which he plays a tortured Black Ops operative returning home after a botched mission. Next summer, he will appear as Heimdall in the Marvel comic book adaptation, Thor. Elba will also be the second actor to play James Patterson’s Dr. Alex Cross, a role originated by Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman in previous Patterson adaptations, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider.

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