“I’m gonna give you the job because you had me fooled”: Idris Elba Bagged Role in Legendary Show Everyone Would’ve Shot and Killed for Because of a Bet

"I’m gonna give you the job because you had me fooled": Idris Elba Bagged Role in Legendary Show Everyone Would've Shot and Killed for Because of a Bet
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Idris Elba is one of the most recognizable and dependable faces of the movie industry, as he has made a name for himself for being one of the most versatile and capable actors to ever step foot in front of a camera. From heroes to being the villain, the protagonist, or the supporting role in a TV Series or a film, Elba has only received love from the audience and praise from the critics.

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Idris Elba
Idris Elba

From 28 Weeks Later to Pacific Rim, Idris Elba has proved that he is one of the hardest-working actors in Hollywood. But these films are not what first caught the attention of the audience about the talent, his portrayal of Stringer Bell in the popular HBO drama series, The Wire. While actors would have fought with each other to bag the iconic role, turns out the Star Trek Beyond actor bagged the role because he won a bet against David Simon, the creator of the series.

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Idris Elba Won a Bet To Bag His Iconic Role in The Wire

The Wire is considered to be one of the greatest TV Series ever created, and Idris Elba’s portrayal of Stringer Bell was the major highlight of the drama series. But it was majorly because of a bet with David Simon that helped the actor to bag the high-profile role in the HBO TV Series.

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Idris Elba as Stringer Bell
Idris Elba as Stringer Bell

While many people do not know this the Extraction 2 actor is from England, but he used to talk in an American accent. During an interview with The Guardian, the actor stated he played the role so well that David Simon had no clue where he was from, until the last audition. Meanwhile, Simon had a bet with the producer of the show, when the last audition took place, the producer asked Elba where he was from, and he answered, “East London.” Everyone in the room was surprised and since he fooled everyone, he managed to bag the role.

“David Simon had no clue until the last audition. At the last audition, the producer asked me: ‘Where are you really from?’ I said: ‘East London’ and the room erupted. David lost the bet. And he said: ‘OK, I’m gonna give you the job because you had me fooled’.”

A still from The Wire
A still from The Wire

It is extremely impressive to say that the Hijack actor was so impressive during the whole audition process that one could guess that he was not an American. Since he was so outstanding during the entire process, none could figure out his origin, the creator of the show was ready to put his money on him and it turned out to be a wise decision.

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Idris Elba Believes His Iconic Role Has Hurt His Career

In the same interview with The Guardian, he shared that playing his role of Stringer Bell for three seasons in The Wire launched him into the limelight but it brought him problems as it led to less interesting roles coming his way.

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Idris Elba in a still from The Wire
Idris Elba in a still from The Wire

“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. I could feel that there was a glass ceiling coming. I could sort of see the smudges on it.”

Hence, after The Wire, Elba’s career took a massive turn, as even though he appeared in a number of projects after the series none of them matched the charisma and intensity that he had showcased in The Wire.

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The Wire can be streamed on Max.

Source: The Guardian

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Written by Tushar Auddy

Tushar Auddy, Junior Content Writer. He has been in the entertainment industry for 3 years and is always on the lookout for a captivating story. He is a student of Linguistics and currently pursuing his Master's degree in the same field. He has a passion for literature that runs deep and loves nothing more than getting lost in a novel for hours on end. When he isn't reading, you'll find him capturing the beauty of language.