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April 2007
THE REAPING EXCLUSIVE Interview with Idris Elba

THE REAPING An EXCLUSIVE Interview with Idris Elba
By Niambi Sims

April 2, 2007

Talk about working hard! Usually actors are lucky enough to have at least one to two films out in a year, but Idris Elba has about 5 films out in 2007. Seems like every month he’s the flavor of the month. From romancing Gabriele Union is Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls to supporting Hilary Swank in some mysterious ongoings in Louisiana in the upcoming “The Reaping”, Elba is certaining reaching out to sorts of audiences from different genres. If that wasn’t enough, next month he’ll play General Stone in “28 Weeks Later”, the sequel to the blockbuster horror flick, 28 Days Later. Later on this year, Elba will star with Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, rapper T.I, and many others in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster. That film can generate Oscar talk if done right, but it’s too early to talk about that. He’s in the middle of shooting “This Christmas” which comes on in November, and that stars Columbus Short, Regina King, Lauren London, Idris Elba, and Chris Brown to name a few. On his spare time, Elba is a known DJ in his home in London and goes by the name of DJ Big Driis / Big Driis the Londoner. In speaking exclusively with blackfilm.com’s Niambi Sims in regards to his role in “The Reaping”, Idris gets personal and tells us what he’s afraid of and why he’s looking forward to reaping what he’s sewn.

How are you?

Idris Elba: I didn’t sleep too well last night so I’m tired but I’m good. so go easy on me.

Ok, I’ll go easy on you.

Idris Elba: Be easy please.

What are the similarities between you and your character Ben?

Idris Elba: We both have tattoos. That’s about it. He’s a Christian and a scientist and I’m more spiritual than religious. We both have faith though. He’s a stictler for technical detail and I am too when it comes to what I do. As an actor there is a technical aspect that I pay attention too and Ben does that also.

What is your spiritual practice?

Idris Elba: Practice none. I’m really more of a speak it into existence type of person. I try to be positive and stay around positive people. I have this thing every year when its my birthday or my daughter’s birthday, I sit by a tree. I have a tattoo of tree on my arm. The reason being that trees are rooted to the earth. People look up to the sky for God but for me its in the roots. Things grow up and out (from the roots). So, I stay by a tree because its like my church its real good solace. Trees give oxygen and make me think about life.

What was it like working with Hillary Swank?

Idris Elba: Hillary’s very dedicated to her characters and she’s a very nice person. As famous as she is she is still real and humble. She can still look people in the eye when she’s talking and have a real connection with every single person. She was just a joy to work with. When I tell people that I was doing a film with Hillary Swank everyone was like “WOW” So, I was very honored.

What are you afraid of?

Idris Elba: I have a fear of not being connected, not being grounded. Like walking into a room thinking I am the shit and really smelling like shit. I’m scard of rusty nails!

Oh come on, I’m talking about Phobias here!

Idris Elba: Yeah! I don’t do rusty nails. You know like if you go into a restroom and you see rusty nails around or under the toilet seat?

You won’t use the restroom then?

Idris Elba: Nope. I can’t. It’s a phobia because I have a scar on my wrist that came from a rusty nail when I was a kid.

Was there anything that happened on the set that was really scary?

Idris Elba: Nothing so scary

The Locusts were scary to me!?

Idris Elba: The locusts were disgusting! The further we were in that swamp there were real water snakes and alligators running around. No fun thank you very much. I hate the locusts though. That was crazy. I’m an arachnophobic so that was hard!

Are you surprised you didn’t die in the first scene? When you get scripts to do you check for that?

Idris Elba: Yeah that’s what we do as black men. We look and ask which page do I die on? Do I die here? Oh @#$%! Page 34 I’m still going?

You were there during Katrina what was that like?

Idris Elba: It was a very interesting, weird, unforgettable time. We were there shooting a film about acts of God and plagues and suddenly something so amazing to see and experience came through. It was like the God’s themselves opened up on us it was amazing, like whoa! When came back to finish the film the look in everyone’s eyes was an appreciation for life like “Yo, I’m still here”. By then it was a media frenzy. It was such a humbling real experience.

Did you experience any of the devastation?

Idris Elba: Totally. We were in Baton Rouge and that suffered badly. We went to New Orleans maybe a week after to help with relief. Iv’e never seen anything like it. Iv’e never seen anything like it.

You had some experiences being scared with Ultra Violet, The Reaping and your upcoming 28 days later. Are there any similarities in playing these types of characters?

Idris Elba: The similarities are they are all supernatural but the characters are all different. My character in 28 weeks later is a general in the army. His story line is very real. That’s what I’m here to do. He doesn’t have anything to do with the zombies so much. It just so happens I’m in that film and it’s a genre film so people might think “this is what he does” but its coincidental.

Can you talk about American Gangster?

Idris Elba: Yeah, working with Denzel Washington, Ridley Scott and Russel Crowe was like a blessing to be in that company. The movie’s going to be phenomenal. We dressed up in 70’s gear and took it back to New York so that was fun. It was just really good to work with Denzel Washington.

How’s the music going?

Idris Elba: Good! Look out man! The Allies is doing really well. My second EP is coming nicely. I’m really excited about this one.

There is a saying that you Reap What you Sew. What are you sewing now that you plan to Reap in the next few years?

Idris Elba: The idea of just putting in good quality work so that in the future the work that comes to me is of that ilk. I want to maintain a career. I want writers and directors to trust that they can go to Idris when they want some to bring some soul and depth and originality to their characters. I’m doing that by not playing one stereotype. I want people to not recognize me in each film.

Thank you Idris

Idris Elba: Good to see you again.

THE REAPING opens on April 5, 2007


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