Besides being known as Heimdall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Idris Elba is perhaps the most recognized for playing John Luther in the psychological crime thriller series titled Luther and Stringer Bell in HBO’s The Wire. But contrary to popular belief, the latter didn’t exactly pan out in the 50-year-old actor’s favor. In fact, Elba’s career ended up teetering on the edge of precariousness after The Wire.
While playing the part of the shrewd antagonist in the drama series did earn him fame and success, Elba was of the firm belief that The Wire didn’t open him up to any “remarkable” opportunities. However, if Stringer Bell left the actor feeling out of place, then John Luther was the knight in shining armor that helped Elba back on his feet.
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Idris Elba on How His English Roots Affected His Career During The Wire
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Idris Elba revealed how despite all the “attention” that he was getting for playing Stringer Bell in David Simon’s The Wire, he wasn’t too thrilled about it all. The Golden Globe-winning actor claimed that the majority of the viewers assumed him to be American during the series. But when they found out that he was instead an English actor playing second-in-command to Baltimore’s drug kingpin, Elba “stuck out like a sore thumb.”
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“Most people thought I was American during The Wire and then when they realised I was not, I suddenly stuck out like a sore thumb. I felt more scrutinised. I was enjoying success, but I don’t think I was being pushed or stretched as an actor. I don’t think I was getting roles that were like … remarkable.”
And soon enough, the Bastille Day star started to feel trapped in his inner turmoil. “I could feel that there was a glass ceiling coming,” Elba admitted. “I could sort of see the smudges on it.”
John Luther’s Character Helped to Set Idris Elba Free
While Stringer Bell put a glass case on Elba’s abilities, John Luther from Neil Cross’ popular British psychological drama series helped him to move ahead in life. It wasn’t so much about him identifying with Luther, which he barely did, as much as it was about him feeling liberated due to the role.
“Playing a detective, and offering a compelling version of that, that’s what set me free. Or at least redefined what people thought my capabilities were.”
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Not to mention, Luther and Stringer Bell were complete opposites and that distinction was likely to have helped Elba more when it came to reshaping himself. And now, after five seasons and 13 years worth of time, Elba has once again stepped in as the ingenious detective in Luther: The Fallen Sun which is set to be a Netflix feature.
Luther: The Fallen Sun is now out on Netflix.
The Wire is streaming on HBO Max.
Source: The Guardian