9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Idris Elba
In honour of the Young Vic and Manchester International Festival’s announcement of the world premiere of “Tree,” a new musical created by Idris Elba that will open next summer, we took a look at some of the extraordinary (and sometimes surprising) talents of this modern Renaissance man.
9. His American accent is on point.
British-born Elba got his big break (and showed off his flawless American accent) when he starred as Baltimore crime boss Stringer Bell in cult HBO series “The Wire.”
8. He’s a powerhouse DJ (and even opened for Madonna).
A well-respected DJ, Elba was the supporting act for the German leg of Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” tour.
7. He’s had a secret modeling career.
Elba was the first man to grace the cover of “Maxim.”
6. He’s a speed junkie.
Elba broke a British land speed record driving a Bentley in 2015, reaching speeds of over 180 mph.
5. He won over Nelson Mandela.
After seeing Elba play him in biopic “The Long Walk to Freedom,” Mandela asked, “Is that me?” Elba recorded an album called “Mi Mandela” after making the film, and “Tree” is also inspired by the South African icon.
4. He has serious hardware.
He’s won a Golden Globe for “Luther,” a SAG Award for “Beasts of No Nation,” and been nominated for Emmys and BAFTAs.
3. He’s practically a knight.
In 2016 Elba was awarded an OBE, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, by the Queen for his services to drama. It’s the second-highest honour in the UK, after knighthood and a CBE (Commander of the British Empire).
2. Did we mention that he’s really really really ridiculously good looking?
The entire Internet revolted when 2017’s “People’s Sexiest Man Alive” Award was given to Blake Shelton, unanimously deciding that it should’ve gone to Elba. Previous Sexiest Man winner Matthew McConaughey even launched a campaign to make it happen!
1. He sings and raps.
He recorded his first EP, Big Man, in 2004 and sometimes raps by the name Big Driis.