EVEN as Idris Elba’s Beasts of No Nation is mired in controversy (the movie will be premiering online along with its release in theatres), the 42-year-old British actor is also awaiting the release of his much-talked-about-film, The Gunman, directed by Pierre Morel, which stars Sean Penn and Ray Winstone. Based on Jean Patrick Manchette’s book Prone Gunman, the movie is a gripping action thriller, in which he plays a government official. Well known for his films Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, American Gangster and Thor, the actor has had a significant presence in television too, with shows like Law and Order and as Russell Stringer Bell in The Wire. Now starting to shoot for a two-part Luther, in which he reprises the role of a troubled cop, the three-time Golden Globe nominated actor is also a DJ and musician. More from him about The Gunman:
What was it like to work with Pierre Morel and Sean Penn.
I was a fan of Morel’s Taken; it’s an incredible film. The way it was shot was incredible. It is very tough to show good action and he did it really well. So, when I was chosen for The Gunman, I was very excited. The way Sean works is very real. Only a few action heros can do both jobs incredibly—give you a real character and run around with friends in a car. Sean Penn is one of them. I really haven’t read the script because I just said I will do it to Sean.
Were you nervous when you
found out that you would be working with massive stars?
Yes, a little bit. Sean Penn is such a formidable and powerful actor, any actor seen with him is probably thinking about what to do. So yes, I was a little nervous.
Do you agree that even tough guys in action movies have a soft side?
All the actors in this film have a tough and a soft side. I think women have been hugging and cuddling tough guys with softer sides on screen, for years.
Tell us about your DJing
I am doing enough for the season. You will definitely see me around. I love to DJ, it’s my hobby.
Do you worry that people will not accept you
as an actor?
I did worry that it might water down how people see what I do as an actor. Because my music is so much more truthful about my art—me—than my acting is. Music comes from my soul. I can connect with people more through my music.
There was speculation about you becoming the next Bond.
I just don’t want to be the black James Bond. Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond. So if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.
You moved back to London from LA. That’s the opposite of what most people do. Why?
I don’t want my family growing up here. That isn’t me, it just isn’t. I’m not into the whole fame thing either. I don’t have celebrity friends. I have the same ones I had from when I was a kid and, for me, it’s about my family and what is best for them.
We hear you perform your own stunts. Comment.
I do a lot of my own stunts. There aren’t many stunt guys who look like me. So I land up doing my own stuff (laughs).
The Gunman is scheduled to release on March 20.