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Idris Elba Calls 'No Good Deed' An Old-School Thriller & Reveals More On His 'Pacific Rim' Role

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 12, 2012 10:59 AM
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There's a great profile of Idris Elba in New York Magazine posted last week in which he reveals some items that I thought were interesting enough to share here, and really should have shared in a previous post.

Notably, with regards to the project he's currently shooting in ATL, the thriller No Good Deed with Taraji P. Henson... he calls it "an old-school thriller," adding that he plays "a character that … well, without giving too much away, he basically breaks out of jail and then terrorizes some people. I’m excited. Sam Miller, who directed the second installment of Luther, he’s directing it. It feels good. It’s a good sort of slow-boil, old-school drama."

Another thing he mentions that I wasn't already aware of is that he's executive producing it as well (Will Packer/Rainforest Films are producers of the project). In reference to that, Idris said, "Yeah. I want to produce and direct. This is one of the first exercises of me sort of bringing a team together to make something that I think will be good."

That last sentence suggests that the project originated with him, doesn't it? And that he was responsible for packaging it. Anyone read that differently?

He also talked about his involvement in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which we haven't really known very much about. First, he calls the film "an Earth/human story with the looming attack of another race;" and as for who his character is, he added, "He's yet another man of authority, but this time much higher up. He's the head of the army and the army is the essential fighting force against these monsters. The world is crumbled and this alien lived underneath the surface of the Earth for a long time. Our only defense has been these massive robots that fight back — they're basically tanks that are put together to look like men and can walk. I play the leader of that sort of movement. Then we lose our funding, basically, and the world decides to build walls around countries, which basically means the rich can get in and the poor can't. So our characters go, "No. We're going to fight this our way." It could be a box-standard, fight-against-the-aliens sort of film, but not with Guillermo."

Alright, you got me! Sounds like commentary on class and immigration, as NY Mag notes; and Idris responds, "Well, it’s certainly a commentary on if the world were under attack who would survive and who wouldn’t. Interestingly enough, the poor would probably more survive than the rich... Because they have less and are used to less; therefore, more resilient and more tough. If an alien attacks a big skyscraper, people in the skyscraper are going to die. The people on the floor may not."

Idris goes on to talk about learning a lot from Guillermo, while under his direction, so much that, as he said, "my depth of field is now so unbelievably clear I feel like I want to direct now because of what Guillermo taught me," adding that what he learned from Guillermo included, "his attention to detail... His attention to sort of how to manipulate the audience to keep driving them forward in the story. As an actor, you kind of say the words, but he wanted us to really connect to each emotion. Whether the last time you saw me on the screen was six minutes ago or not, there was a real sort of connection to each one any time you were seeing me. That’s not something you teach, but it’s something that I was aware that he was paying attention to. It was interesting."

He also talked about prepping for his role as Nelson Mandela, which we've already shared here.

But it sounds like Pacific Rim, given what we know and have seen of if it (the photo above), is something to look forward to next year; and clearly, Idris' directorial debut, which he's been talking about for about a year now. I won't be surprised if, with all his excitement, we gets behind the camera for the first time in the next 12 months. 

You can read the rest of the NY Mag piece HERE.

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  • Mel | June 12, 2012 5:50 PMReply

    I think his career has been a bit frustrating. He seems to have the chops, the charisma and the looks to be a leading man, but that 1 good role seems to have eluded him so far. I don't want to start speculating what it would have been like if someone like Michael Fassbender had just come off a critically acclaimed show like "The Wire" and the script opportunities he would have received, but I think it's a bit sad we might see Elba directing before we see him command a great lead role.

  • NO BRAINER | June 13, 2012 1:19 AM

    "He seems to have the chops, the charisma and the looks to be a leading man, but that 1 good role seems to have eluded him so far," you say. I say, "BAD MANAGEMENT." Most of the actors you see flying, whether white or black, have one thing in common: great representation that are not only about getting paid.

  • misha | June 13, 2012 1:16 AM

    ROTFL! AV, why am I not surprised that you're once again throwing out vague insults and intentionally misconstruing my opinion to build up your weak ass argument? SMH. In a way, I guess I should be flattered that you STILL have Misha on your mind. ;)

  • AccidentalVisitor | June 12, 2012 7:55 PM

    Not according to some of the spin doctors on this site, Mel. Those folks, one in particular, have stated with certainty that it doesn't matter if black actors aren't given the same fully formed roles that a Fassbender gets because they are supposed to be so dynamic, so miraculous that they are able to turn even the most mundane material into gold and thereby transform their careers. You Pacino and DeNiro did when they were getting all those "crappy" roles five to ten years into their careers. Uh-huh. Anyway...Elba does still bug me with the choices he makes (Obsession, Ghost Rider, Daddy's Little Girls) but I did enjoy reading this interview the other day. It assures me he may indeed have a good head on his shoulders.

  • Rob | June 12, 2012 12:51 PMReply

    Not sure it's accurate to say No Good Deed originated with Idris Elba - the script had been set up at Dreamworks previously and then Screen Gems bought it out of turnaround with no attachments other than the writer and the two producers. Taraji was then attached long before Elba.

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