Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba showcases his creative versatility both on-screen in television and film as well as behind the camera as a producer and director. He continues to captivate audiences and secure his position as the one to watch in Hollywood, with a string of well-received performances in high-profile films as well as and multiple critically acclaimed television series.
Prior to his big screen debut, Elba’s career skyrocketed on the small screen in some of UK’s top rated shows including Dangerfield, Bramwell and Ultraviolet. In 2000, Ultraviolet was purchased by Fox in the United States, offering Idris a break into the American marketplace. He soon moved to New York and earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Achilles in Sir Peter Hall’s off-Broadway production of Troilus and Cressida. Shortly thereafter he landed a part on the acclaimed television series Law & Order.
Soon after his move to the states, Idris landed the role of Stringer Bell, the lieutenant of a Baltimore drug empire on HBO’s critically acclaimed series The Wire. Elba’s portrayal of the complex but deadly Bell is arguably one of the most compelling performances in TV history. In 2005, his performance earned him an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
In 2005 Elba began his film career in such projects as HBO’s Sometimes in April (NAACP Image Award nomination), Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls (BET Award nomination), The Reaping alongside Hilary Swank, and the horror thriller 28 Weeks Later. In 2007, Idris starred in Ridley Scott’s Golden Globe nominated American Gangster with Denzel Washington, Russel Crowe, Ruby Dee and Josh Brolin. The cast went on to receive a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. Following, he starred in Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla with Tom Hardy, opposite Beyonce Knowles in Obsessed (NAACP Image Award Nomination), The Losers (NAACP Image Award nomination), Legacy (which he also executive produced), Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus with Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, Thor with Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim alongside Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi. In 2013 Idris starred as Nelson Mandela in The Weinstein Company biopic Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom. His performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination and an NAACP Image Award nomination. The next year, he both starred in and executive produced No Good Deed, a thriller also starring Taraji Henson. In March 2015 Elba appeared in Pierre Morel’s The Gunman, alongside Sean Penn and Javier Bardem.
Elba can currently be seen in Beasts of No Nation, directed by Cary Fukunaga, which earned him a SAG award, London Evening Standard award and nominations for a Golden Globe, BAFTA, NAACP and Film Independent Spirit Award. He was most recently seen in Zootopia and The Jungle Book for Disney, and will next be seen in Star Trek Beyond. He is currently in production on The Dark Tower.
Idris returned to television in 2009 when he joined the cast of NBC’s hit television show The Office as Michael Scott’s less than amused boss Charles Minor. In 2010, Idris landed the title role of John Luther in the BBC crime drama mini-series Luther. Following the first season, Elba was nominated for an Emmy for his performance in Luther as well as for his guest appearance on Showtime’s The Big C. His performance in the first season of Luther earned him an NAACP Image Award, a BET Award, and a Golden Globe. In 2012, Elba earned an Emmy nomination for the second season of Luther. The third installment of the BBC mini-series aired in September 2013. His performance earned him an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination as well as an NAACP Image Award. In 2015, Elba reprised his role as Luther for the two-part final installment of the series, for which he earned a Critics’ Choice Award and nominations for a Golden Globe, SAG, NAACP and BAFTA TV award.
In 2013 Elba made his directorial debut with the teleplay The Pavement Psychologist for Sky/Sprout Pictures as part of Sky's PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS series starring Anna Friel, which Elba also wrote. He also created, directed and starred in the music video “Lover of the Light” by Mumford and Sons which has received more than 9 million YouTube views to date. In 2014 Elba starred in and produced a two-part documentary titled King of Speed for BBC Two and BBC America with his production company Green Door Pictures. In 2015 Elba and Green Door Pictures released the documentary Mandela, My Dad and Me, which follows Elba during the making of his album “mi Mandela.”
In winter 2015, Elba launched his clothing line Idris Elba + Superdry, which combines vintage Americana styling with Japanese inspired graphics, available in both the UK and US.