Belfast Telegraph

Idris Elba vocal on TV violence

Idris Elba thinks there is “a line to be drawn” when it comes to violence on TV.

The actor made his name playing drug dealer Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell in cult US TV series The Wire and is also known for his portrayal of renegade detective John Luther in UK show Luther. Although there is a lot of viciousness in both programmes, it’s not something the 42-year-old has ever taken lightly.

“There is a line to be drawn about violence on TV, especially against women, and I am definitely sensitive to it,” he told British newspaper The Sun.

“Deciding on a role takes careful consideration from me. The rules for me are that I want to entertain and I want to keep the audience guessing but I always consider the impact of storylines, too.”

It’s a double-edged sword for Idris as he wants to do the best job possible, but is also aware that his actions have consequences. He hopes people realise that he’s concentrating on telling stories and not sending out messages about life.

“That said, we have to remind ourselves we are making escapism TV based on a thrill ride,” he said. “But I would never poo-poo someone’s criticism of it because it’s a valid point.”

Idris hasn’t only played bad guys, his most famous role to date was as late South African anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela in last year’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, for which he was nominated for many awards.

It wasn’t an easy film to take, not least because the actor doubted whether he was the right person for the part. Director Justin Chadwick gave him a lot of support though, which helped a great deal.

“I had a few meltdowns playing Mandela, as I just wanted to get it right,” he explained.

“I don’t look anything like him but the director talked me off the edge, saying that we’re not doing a lookalike version and that I was great. It took me a while to get my head around it.”

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