Quotes by Idris Elba

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I was into Spider Man when I was a kid and that was the only comic I've ever read. more...

I wasn't bad at school, but I was never a bookworm. more...

I would never be fearful of any character. more...

I'm tactile, very tactile. A woman who has really nice, looked-after skin is such a turn-on for me. It's always sexy. more...

I've been DJing mostly, and most DJs end up producing. That's just me. more...

I've always had ambition, and the acting was successful and put my name on the map, but it was never the plan to stop there. more...

What really excites me in a project is when it goes in a way you haven't been before. more...

When I was a kid, I thought it was tough. more...

Whether it's music or acting, that creativity all comes from the same source. more...

I lived in America for a long time before I started working as an actor. Some actors show up on set and have never done an American accent before, so they rely on a slew of technical mechanisms. Part of what makes an accent is understanding why people speak that way - you have to understand the culture. more...

I was on a well-beaten path of actors - what we all call 'the Law and Order route'. I spent two years of auditioning for everything... and then 'The Wire' came up. more...

I'd rather a young black actor read about success as opposed to how tough it was. I get these roles because I can act and that's it. Hopefully that's it. more...

It was deeply important for me to understand where Mandela came from. Because we know where he was going, and that's a famous story, but who was he? Where did he come from? What was his upbringing? more...

Now there are certain things you have to prepare - like dialect and special skills. But in the moment, interaction between two characters on the page doesn't need - for me, I don't need to prepare that. more...

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. more...

Because I was big, I didn't have to listen to anyone doubting me. I was just considered good at football or whatever, there were no questions about it. more...

I have one of these bodies. When I was younger, I could never put weight on, and now that I'm a little older, there's a natural sort of chubbiness coming. But honestly, if I work out for a week, it drops off in no time. more...

I'm rebelling against being handed a career, like, 'You're the next this; you're the next that.' I'm not the next anything, I'm the first me. I can't be myself, I can't just be Idris Elba. But that's just the nature of the business. more...

It's actually quite criminal how 'The Wire' was systematically ignored. more...

The one album I can't live without is called 'Cumbolo' by a band called Culture. Every song on their album is deep, but there's one in particular called 'This Train.' I have a tattoo of the lyrics on my left arm. more...

I try to fit in workouts whenever I can. more...

Africans, we hold on to our youths and whip them into shape. more...

Every leading lady I work with, I'll see if I can get a song out of them and put it on an album. more...

I did a rendition of 'Billie Jean' which is on my Soundcloud. I put it on Twitter, and it got about 3000 hits that day. more...

I love to play different roles. That's just the kind of actor I am. more...

I tend to stay away from the comics. more...

I was always a real athletic kid. Then when I got older, I just figured it was part of life to keep training. more...

There has been a big debate about it: can a black man play a Nordic character? more...

I've always been DJing; it's just I'm making more of a push for it, making it more public. more...

I've never had to explain 'Prometheus' to people, ever. Most people get it. more...

In some countries, no one knows who Idris Elba is. more...

It could be Grammy night, Oscar night, whatever - I don't feel the pressure to be there. more...

People expect me to be that guy. But I'm more east London boy than east Baltimore. more...

The less I talk about being black, the better. more...

I did green screen for the first time! I wouldn't like to do a whole movie of green screen, though. You kind of forget the plot a little - like being in a Broadway play and doing it over and over and forgetting your line halfway through. more...

I think there's a tendency for actors like myself, and I don't mean to generalize myself, but I've played 'men's men,' if you will, characters that are simmering rage and calculated. There's a trend not to play anything that is opposed to that. more...

It's weird because my parents don't really understand my business. I get fan mail all day long, but if a piece happens to get to their house, they're like, 'Oh, my God, you've got a fan! You have to write them back. You have to do it!' more...

Television has shied away from being too dark, because so much has happened to us recently here in the West, and people are sort of wanting to see more uplifting sorts of things. more...

Apparently, Daniel Craig said I'd be a great Bond. Daniel, why did you say that? Dropped me right in it! What an honor it would be, but also, what an indication of change. more...

I think 'The Wire' really is relatable. It reflects an ongoing issue across America, about inaccuracies in major cities between rich and the poor and some of the things that go on behind the red tape of council and government bodies. more...

I was cast in 'Thor' and I'm cast as a Nordic god. If you know anything about the Nords, they don't look like me but there you go. I think that's a sign of the times for the future. I think we will see multi-level casting. I think we will see that, and I think that's good. more...

I was really ambitious, so I was innovative. I was one of the first DJs to do live calls, 'cause I found this phone device that would pick up other people's voices. more...

I'm not interested in making all-black films - I come from a very diverse culture; I want to work with every type of person. I work a lot with women executives because they seem to be a lot more open minded about that and a lot more progressive in that way. more...

If you are going to call a film a 'black film' then you have to make a film that represents everyone that's black, which is almost impossible. That is why white films are not called white films, they are just called 'films.' more...

The adrenaline feeling of jumping out of cliffs and bikes and all of that is very specific to the film. In 'Pac Rim' I'm not doing that so much. There isn't that touch stonework for me in it, but there is a lot of action. more...

The long and short of it is that I am now in a position in England to green light movies, and that's really excellent - not high-budget movies, but movies none the less. more...

The role of my agent has just been to get me in the room. If I can get in the room - say the character is just a charming man who lives next door - then I'll walk in there and be as charming as I can and they will think to themselves, 'I don't see why we can't cast him.' more...

There's the argument that you can relate to someone who's completely unrelatable. In the way that a director shows you his imagination on a film, then I get to show you my imagination in a big dumb character. more...

White actors still get way more money in Hollywood. It's been that way for a very long time. I hope it'll change, but it's a matter of forcing that change. more...

You know, film is the ultimate goal in an actor's career. I mean, I still love TV. I have my feet firmly stamped in it. But my opportunities have been bigger and better. more...

Being able to work with Ridley Scott on this film is like being able to play on the Olympic team for actors. more...

Actors tend to not know how their performances are going to actually be used. Even though the script says one thing, in the edit, it can be something else. more...

I'm not a popular actor. I don't necessarily want to be famous. I want to be known for great work. I want to be known to surprise audiences. more...

What I like about their films is that you actually feel the momentum of whatever they're shooting. So, if someone's falling out a window, it gives the opportunity to show what that might feel like. more...

The audience loves it when you pay attention to details. more...

I dont have a place that I call home at the moment because theres no point. I mean, Im a traveling circus for a while. Its weird. Like, if I wanted to go home, theres nowhere to go. I just go to a hotel. But Ive kind of gotten used to it. more...

I'm an ambitious person. I never consider myself in competition with anyone, and I'm not saying that from an arrogant standpoint, it's just that my journey started so, so long ago, and I'm still on it and I won't stand still. more...

Not obsessed with particularly Nike, but sneakers in general. I love them. more...

It's really funny because the same people who loved me as Stringer Bell were the same people that were watching 'Daddy's Little Girls' literally in tears. more...

I get criticized for taking roles in films like 'Ghost Rider 2', but if you look at my resume, dude, I've mixed it up as much as I can. more...

If I was gonna go to jail, I don't want to go to jail for stealing a bottle of water. I'll steal that $20 million. At least then it was worth it. more...

I love bikes. I used to own one, but I fell off it when I was younger and that was the end of my bike riding days until now. more...

In 'Pacific Rim' I had to have a haircut I wouldn't usually rock. However, the moustache I had in the film - that might have to come out again. It was a good moustache. Good times. more...

When I look at my body of work, I've played a lot of characters who are morally conflicted - 'I'm right, no I'm wrong, I don't know what to do!' I want to play more characters who don't care as much, and who aren't as measured. They are what they are, no apologies. more...

The only thing I change mainly is my sneakers. I love sneakers. But everything's sort of black or jeans. Jeans, always. more...

There's a fast-track if you can do the networking. For some personalities it works, but for mine it doesn't. more...

Yeah, I know, any time you hear an actor say, 'I do music', you cringe. But I want to be gradual with my music. I want to earn my stripes. more...

Twenty or 30 years from now, I'm going to be on a beach in Jamaica. more...

You watch yourself age and it's hard to feel like a sex symbol. more...

I don't have a place that I call home at the moment because there's no point. I mean, I'm a traveling circus for a while. It's weird. Like, if I wanted to go home, there's nowhere to go. I just go to a hotel. But I've kind of gotten used to it. more...

Bond? It is a bit like saying, 'Do you want to play Superman?' Anyone would dream of it. It's one of the most coveted roles in film. I'd be honoured. But I don't know if it will actually happen. I'm just happy with the idea of being associated with it. It's nice there's a lot of good will. more...

I want to go to Sierra Leone with something - whether it's some sort of contribution to healthcare, or to the entertainment industry. My cousin is a nurse; we are talking about opening a clinic. more...

If you go to Africa and you're white, you're probably not going to get that much work either. But the fact is that there is a longer history of black integration in the U.S. I don't have any resentment about this: I did the maths, calculated it against my ambition and decided to leave England. more...

I'm a little sheepish about it. Whenever I meet fans and they're like, 'Oh, you're so sexy,' I just don't get that. There's no way one man can be universally sexy. more...

As an actor, you're trained to do the right thing, be politically correct, say your lines, say the right thing about the people you're working with. more...

The English are good at bad guys - the James Bond-style villain, cunning, slow-burning. The Americans are much more obvious about it. more...

Are there differences between black actors' opportunities and white actors' opportunities? Yes, there are. It's been said. more...

Every single film I've done, it's about the character. more...

I don't get recognised that much yet in London, but when I do I get a real sense of achievement. more...

I knew that if I wanted to be all I could be, I would have to go to the U.S. It took three years to get the accent right. more...

I still sing on bits and pieces. Singing's something that I love to do, but it's not something that I pursue as a career. more...

Television, for me, is a medium that I'm probably always going to be attached to, one way or another. more...

As much as it's nice to step into that massive world of Hollywood and be a big, famous actor, I prefer the career of actors that have really chosen smartly and done really amazing performances. Maybe they're not as known, but their careers are a bit more interesting. more...

What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. more...

I watch my daughter wanting to be like other kids and getting upset that she's not. But I always try and instill in her the idea that she's perfect as she is. more...

The role of my agent has just been to get me in the room. If I can get in the room - say the character is just a charming man who lives next door - then I'll walk in there and be as charming as I can and they will think to themselves, 'I don't see why we can't cast him. more...

It's weird because my parents don't really understand my business. I get fan mail all day long, but if a piece happens to get to their house, they're like, 'Oh, my God, you've got a fan! You have to write them back. You have to do it! more...

My Father always told me that a fool at 40 is a fool for life. more...

I'm never shaken or stirred. more...

Imagine a film such as Inception with an entire cast of black people - do you think it would be successful? Would people watch it? But no one questions the fact that everyone's white. That's what we have to change more...

Waking up in TRUTH is so much better than living in a lie. more...

I was in The Wire for three years, and I left at the highlight of that. more...

Working at BBC, at the head of one of the top dramas, is a tradition for great actors. more...

People watch three or four episodes at a time of their shows. more...

I'll always be attached to telly in one way or another, whether it's a character or producer or director, I just love the medium. more...

[Sometimes] I sit in front of my [gaming] console with my headphones on and I play. I love that. It's a nice form of escapism. more...

Nobody likes a celebrity DJ for the sake of style, so I don't do that - I try to be good at what I do. It's all about resetting, it's my escape. It is work, it's a job, but I just love doing it. more...

I love working. I'm a workaholic and I'm really privileged for some of the jobs I get offered and so I just want to keep going. more...

My definition of bad-ass is that I'm a force of nature and true spirit. I'm self-admitting that, and it sounds vain to say that, but I am. more...

I come from an era, in my world, where you just had to define yourself as who you are and what you do. I happen to be an actor. I happen to be someone that loves to act, that also likes music, that also likes to speak, and that also has an opinion. more...

When you come from an under-privileged background, oftentimes, you feel a little overwhelmed by your education or your lack of. more...

I'm never shaken or stirred. more...

Imagine a film such as Inception with an entire cast of black people - do you think it would be successful? Would people watch it? But no one questions the fact that everyone's white. That's what we have to change more...

What kind of role do you play after someone like Stringer, you know what I mean? You play another gangster. What's the point of that? I've played the gangster. I try to keep it really varied; it just makes for more of a fun and interesting career. more...

Even when I went to America I didn't work for four years. It wasn't like I came to New York and it was the land of milk and honey. It was just as much of a hard graft. But there's a lot more opportunity nowadays across the board for actors, no matter what color you are, with the Internet and small productions. more...

I find that a lot of actors who are good and open to challenges have lived a full life. When you walk into an audition, you have more to say for yourself because you come from the real world. It's more enticing for directors, I think. more...

There are things that I really find important, and that we need to remind ourselves of. When you think about disability, do you really think about it? Someone who's a full-time trainer or a boxer, someone who's got a major disability, but who doesn't let that get in his way, that's a really good message for someone who is able-bodied. It can make them think, 'Wow, I suppose I could be doing better for myself.' more...

We're all human beings. Experience is experience, let's just be honest. Let's not try and dissect suffering into a race, or whatever you want to call it. We're all human beings, one way or another. All races have gone through times that are challenging; that's part of being a human. more...

I've got two smoking guns that just look incredible, and I love to pull them out whenever I can. more...

Some directors hand over portions of their movie to their head of department to the point where it's like, "I'm not going to talk to you about the costumes, but I'm going to let you talk to the expert." Rather than, "You want to talk stitching, let's talk stitching. You want to talk grade of leather? Let's." more...

The directors [who know every detail] make films that are complete, basically. more...

You're directing a movie, but you are at the head of a ship of people, a whole fleet of people. And being able to manage that - being able to handle yourself as a director being a leader - that's massively important. more...

Television is where I cut my teeth. more...

One of my first jobs was in a soap opera, five days a week. And what I found is, although there are different directors coming in and different crews, you just lived in your character. It's the nature of the story, the ongoing story, and it can get deeper and deeper. more...

I wanted to be on American TV so much. I didn't park DJ'ing; I just sort of ended up becoming more of a studio guy. I had a bit more money and I could buy every little piece of equipment and drum machine that had just come out - I've got quite a collection now - and I continued to collect music. more...


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