As we mentioned last week saw Nike Sportswear and LA’s The Montalbán, play host to Guy Ritchie’s latest film, RocknRolla. The action comedy takes a dangerous ride into high crime and low life in contemporary London, where real estate has supplanted drugs as the biggest market, and criminals are its most enthusiastic entrepreneurs. But for anyone looking to get in from small-time crook One Two (Gerard Butler) to shady Russian billionaire Uri Obomavich (Karel Roden), there’s only one man to see Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson). We caught up with the star of the film, Idris Elba, to talk about his role and what its like to work with Guy Ritchie.
Yevgeniy Shukhman: Idris what was it like to get a role in Guy Ritchie’s film?
Idris Elba: Yeah, it was a complete honor to be in the film. He has such a big legacy with his films and does a great job executing them, so it is nice to be a part of something like that. “RocknRolla”, I think is a fantastic film, and it is going to snatch everyone up.
YS: Were you happy that the character you play Mumbles is a smart gangster,not the usual dumb stereotype?
Idris Elba: Well my character is a little smart. He is not dumb, but he gets himself in some stupid situations! All of Guy’s characters are forged, and my character had a few thoughts.
YS: How did you approach your character? What did you do to prepare for this role?
Idris Elba: Going back home and just soaking myself into the environment of London where I’m from was part of it. You have to understand that the script is written in a way that when you come in, you fall into it. It’s kind of like a comic book. The way that Guy Ritchie writes the characters is like in a comic book so you kind of get your description, you kind of get the beats, and you just fall into it. My English accent was a little Americanized because I’ve lived here for a while, but it was nice to do it.
YS: It must have been nice to finally play an Englishman right?
Idris Elba: Yeah exactly! I play a lot of Americans because I live here now.
YS: Do you live in Los Angeles?
Idris Elba: Yeah, I live in LA now. I’m back and forth now between LA and Atlanta sometimes.
YS: It’s nice here, very warm usually. So let’s talk about your role in HBO’s hit “The Wire”. Were you bummed when the character you played “Stringer” was killed? Did you know it was going to happen?
Idris Elba: Yes, I knew about it. There is a bible about the character, and a storyline so it was definitely something that I knew. I was stoked when it finally came to the end anyways. Now, I get to do films like this!
YS: So what was it like to work with Guy Ritchie?
Idris Elba: It was a great experience working with Guy. He knows exactly what he wants and so we did not do a lot of improvising.
YS: Were you not improvising at all?
Idris Elba: Sometimes. There were little bits and pieces. There is a scene when Gerry (One Two) and I are sitting at the table in the bar talking and there was some improvising there.
YS: Idris “RocknRolla” opens in theaters this week, and it’s a big one.
What about your next film? What is it?
Idris Elba: I’ve got a film coming out next year called “Obsessed”. It’s a big thriller with Ali Larter and Beyonce Knowles. We are doing a three hander in it. It’s going to be pretty good and a little different from “RocknRolla”. I’m excited about it.
YS: Thank you so much for your time Idris.
Idris Elba: Oh man anytime, thank you.