Check out my quick interview with one of the nicest and most talented men in the film industry – Idris Elba
A lot of your acting roles have been very diverse from a Marine, to a devoted single father, to a Drug Kingpin and even Stringer Bell – was very different to your role as a drug lord in American Gangster how do you pick your roles is it on purpose that there so diverse?
Idris Elba: Yeah definitely I want to smash out as many sides of who I am, acting is definitely an extension of your personality, you definitely have to have your idiosyncrasies when you learn your lines but you have to bring your own personality to the character. Honestly Matthew in the last five years I’ve realized I’ve got so many different personality’s I think I’ve got a disorder in my head (laughs), it’s hard to squeeze all these personality’s into one character so with every role I get a chance to show something different so I’ve definitely been lucky to not just play one stereotype character to pay the bills.
Yeah especially with the Stringer Bell character being so big did you get a lot of offers for similar roles?
Idris Elba: Yeah continuously, people want to see you play the same thing, just like if you’re a musician if you put out a banging hip hop album then next you go on a rock tip your probably gonna lose your audience but if you show your officially diverse in everyway I think people will go with you.
So how was it like working with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe two of the biggest actors of the last two decades?
Idris Elba: I didn’t actually work with Russell you know. Denzel’s intense, definitely intense. I haven’t really said this to anyone before but with Denzel when your working with someone at that level he’s at you just bring you’re A game, you’ll fall on your face if your nervous, you have to be a hundred percent and with Denzel he didn’t show up to the set, his character showed up to the set, you didn’t get any more than that, so whatever his character was feeling about my character that’s what you got, so if you shake his hand and his character didn’t like yours he’s not really shaking your hand, there’s no conversation or friendly banter because his character and my character had proper beef. I remember filming one of the scenes I said hello to Denzel and he kinda dissed me and later I realized he was in character but it pissed me off, I felt too myself fuck him then and that came across in the film.
His character took you out though man that was a harsh way to go you have to get him back?
Idris Elba: (Laughs) I got him back believe me (laughs). I like Denzel as an actor I’d love to do a film with him for a good six months and carve out some real shit and delve into the characters were playing and merk it you know.
Are the American audience shocked by your English accent?
Idris Elba: (Laughs) A lot of them don’t know I’m English, they’ll think I’m doing a great English accent, I have to tell some people I’m not actually Stringer Bell
How do you follow the football I know you support Arsenal?
Idris Elba: I try to keep up, Fox Sports have it I think and in LA there’s so many English, you bump into a geezer over there and ask what’s the score mate, they’ll be like (in an American accent) Arsenal played Chelsea today and they kicked some ass dude but the referee is an asshole dude (Laughs)
Have you got any last words or shout outs?
Idris Elba: Boy big shout out to East London, Forest Gate my old manor, big up Quincy the comedian big up my boy Boogie that’s my team man, I’ve got too big up Vanessa, Chantelle, I love coming back home and with the music and the films I wanna celebrate it back home in London and spread it.
Idris Elba will next be in Cinemas with Taker – also starring Matt Dillon, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown, Paul Walker, T.I., and Hayden Christensen
GUYS if your girlfriend is a sucker for chick flicks like mine is, you know your gonna get dragged kicking and screaming to this, just accept your fate right now like I have. Use it as leverage to watch films with her that she would NEVER usually watch as punishment. This is my least anticipated film of 2010.
Valentine’s Day is cheduled for release February 12th 2010 and stars Bradley Cooper, Taylor Lautner, Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Emma Roberts, Topher Grace, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Shirley Maclaine
Really looking forward to this!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My cousin and a couple friends went to the test screenin and really enjoyed it(I was meant to go to a screening two weeks ago but the London Underground f**ked me about!)
Set in modern-day Britain, HARRY BROWN follows one man’s (Sir Michael Caine) journey through a chaotic world where drugs are the currency of the day and guns run the streets. A modest law-abiding citizen, Harry Brown is a retired Marine and a widower who lives alone on a depressed housing estate. His only company is his best friend Leonard (David Bradley). When Leonard is murdered by a gang of thugs, Harry feels compelled to act and is forced to dispense his own brand of justice. As he bids to clean up the run-down estate where he lives, his actions bring him into conflict with the police, led by investigating officer DCI Frampton (Emily Mortimer) and Charlie Creed-Miles.
In Cinemas November 13th
I’m really looking forward to this Shane Meadows is one of my favorite directors, Dead Mans Shoes is in my top 10 films of all time and I really enjoyed This Is England and Somers Town.
Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee is an improvised, low-budget mockumentary shot over five days which follows Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee. Fifteen years ago Le Donk seemed to have it all. Now his life is shit. Le Donk has lived, loved and learned. Along the way, he’s lost a classy girlfriend in Olivia (Olivia Colman), but gained a talented sidekick in Nottingham rap prodigy Scor-Zay-Zee (who’s been around for ages, his track Great Britain is a UK Hip Hop classic) AKA Dean Palinczuk (playing himself) whom he decides to take on a road trip that he hopes will change both their lives forever. With Meadows and his fly-on-the-wall crew in tow, Donk sets out to make his protege Scorz-Ayz-Ee a star with a little help from British indie-rock icons The Arctic Monkeys.
I recently caught up with two of the best young British actors in Riz Ahmed and Daniel Mays while they were promoting the DVD release of Shifty, the debut feature film from writer/director Eran Creevy and one of my favourite films of the year.
Riz Ahmed (Britz, Dead Set) takes the title role of Shifty, a thriller charting an action packed 24 hours in the life of a young crack cocaine dealer on the outskirts of London. The sudden return home of his best friend sets in motion a chain of events that see Shiftys life quickly spiral out of control. Stalked by a customer desperate to score at all costs, and with his family about to turn their back on him for good, Shifty must out-run and out-smart a rival drug dealer intent on setting him up. As his long time friend Chris, played by Daniel Mays (The Bank Job, Plus One), confronts the dark past he left behind him, Shifty is forced to face up to the violent future he’s heading fast towards.
Pyroradio.com: How’s you doing guys?
Riz Ahmed: Yeah not bad,
Daniel Mayes: Doing good mate.
Pyroradio.com: The film only took just over two weeks to film, what was the highlight for you making it?
Daniel Mays: The wrap party was quite good (laughs)
Riz Ahmed: Getting to the end of it (laughs), nah there were a lot of moments really, the film set was full of jokes. Because there was no budget on the film, we had to shoot it in such a rush. Normally on a film you shoot two pages of script a day, in this we were shooting like eight or ten pages a day. There was such a high energy, but everyone was still cracking jokes, there were a lot of good moments. I think when one of the UK’s most established elder actresses Francesca Annis had to start hitting a crack pipe, that was a good moment (laughs). I just wanted to pull out my camera phone.
Daniel Mays: That was good day. The whole experience was phenomenal from start to end, I thoroughly enjoyed working with Riz. We’ve got a great new talent with our writer/director Eran Creevy. Everyone done a tremendous job. It surpassed all expectations with the response it’s been getting we’re very proud.
Pyroradio.com: One of the key things that worked well for me was how your characters linked together, did you have to work on that?
Daniel Mays: We can’t actually stand each other.
Pyroradio.com: It was just amazing acting?
Daniel Mays: (laughs) Yeah yeah that’s what it was. It just felt very natural you know, we were very lucky because we had a tremendous script to work with, if you’ve got a great script that’s half the battle, you just have to get into it and give it your best.
Riz Ahmed: Also Danny and Eran are two of the funniest people I’ve ever met. It was non stop banter and jokes, that’s gonna put you at ease, so when action is said it’s not a big tense set, everything flows more naturally.
Pyroradio.com: The movie is very relatable as well, especially to people who grew up in an inner city area. Is there anything you want people to take away from the film?
Daniel Mays: I don’t think the film is necessarily a message movie, it obviously shows the effects of drug use, addiction and everything else, it would be wrong to just describe it as a gritty social realism film, there is that but there’s some tremendous one liners and banter and I find it very funny, that level of humour all be it dark humour runs all the way through the film.
Riz Ahmed: It’s definitely not preachy, it’s a combination, its enjoyable, funny, very realistic, it’s got some darker elements, but I don’t think audiences have seen a film like this before, not because it’s got mad CGI effects and explosions but just because it feels realistic.
Daniel Mays: They did have some CGI explosions but when they looked at it back they realised it didn’t work, so they took it out, which is unfortunate.
Riz Ahmed: Yeah the whole budget went on that (laughs)
Pyroradio.com: The DVD came out on Monday, but for your own DVD collection what are the key things that stand out for you?
Daniel Mays: That’s a good question, I’d say probably the Godfather trilogy, that’s right up there for me, along with Raging Bull
Riz Ahmed: I’d say a for me ummmmm. There was a DVD I borrowed of someone and deliberately never gave it back which was a film called Dead Mans Shoes by Shane Meadows, a lot of people compare this film to a Shane Meadows film in terms that it’s a cool British thriller, it stars
Paddy Considine, its raw.Pyroradio.com: I know both of you have got a lot of good projects coming up can you tell the people what you’ve got coming?
Daniel Mays: I’ve got Nick Love’s remake of The Firm, we’ve remade that, I think it’s coming out the 19th of September, which we’re really pleased with, it’s not for the faint hearted. I’ve got that, the new Nanny McPhee film and another film called We Want Sex. Those two are coming next year.
Riz Ahmed: You couldn’t get three more different films (laughs). I’ve just done a Roman action movie with Noel Clarke called Centurion, which willl be out next year, I’ve always just wrapped on quite a controversial comedy film, I’m not allowed to say anything about, it’s written and directed by a comedy legend and I’m also just putting the music together as well, I’ll be previewing the album at the end of November at Sadler’s Wells Theatre its on the Riz MC Facebook and Myspace page.
Pyroradio.com: You both got any last words?
Riz Ahmed: You need to watch this film (laughs) it’s so shameless but you do.
Daniel Mays: Treat yourself (laughs). In all seriousness we’re so proud of it I just think it’s a cracking little number
Riz Ahmed: I think a lot of people would be inspired by it, it was made against the odds with the budget and time. I think it can inspire a bunch of upcoming film makers.
Shifty is out on DVD now!
Words: Matthew Power