6 Things We Learned from Idris Elba’s Sexy Interview Magazine Feature

Idris Elba opened up to Jon Favreau about his acting career, love for DJ-ing, drunkenly asking Ben Affleck a question and more in this charming conversation for Interview magazine.

The busy actor has already had some amazing roles this year, with many more in the works. He had voice roles in Zootopia, The Jungle Book and Finding Dory (three of the year’s highest-grossing films), and starring roles in Bastille Day and Star Trek Beyond. Next, he’ll star in Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower (out February 17, 2017) and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok (in theaters November 3, 2017).

Here are 6 things we learned from Elba’s interview (sexy photos definitely included for your viewing pleasure). 

He fears he’s going to “burn out” in Hollywood:

It’s unhealthy to have that much going on. I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything, but I sleep less, I’m constantly thinking, I’m constantly multitasking, and I really don’t know what the effects are going to be when I’m older. I don’t ever stop. Not because I’m greedy or anything, but I’m always creating, debating with the part of my brain that is dormant. Wondering how I can move in and create a bit more space and take a bit more time. But it’s almost like the more I achieve, the more capacity I have to achieve. I do worry sometimes about whether I’m going to burn out. Not burn myself out, but burn my art out, with audiences going, ‘Ah, yeah, I’ve seen enough now, thanks very much.’

idris elba interview magazine shirtless
CREDIT: Craig McDean/Interview Magazine

He explains his DJ roots, aka his former profession:

Anyway, what happened was, once I got The Wire, my life changed. I couldn’t DJ as much and I couldn’t take it seriously because my career as an actor was just getting to a place where I was finally making it in America. 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.

Then about five years ago, my career blossomed, but I really missed being out on the road, DJ’ing. So I started picking up gigs here and there, and what occurred to me really quickly was that I was going to water down my passion for DJ’ing, because the type of gigs I was getting were celebrity DJ work, and that just didn’t sit right. So I made a decision about five years ago to really do it properly, to do it at that level I had never done it, but take it seriously and not ride the coattails of being an actor. It took a while because I had to take my time to introduce myself into that world: doing remixes, being taken seriously …

Elba wants to try his hand at directing. He explained to Favreau:

I’ll tell you a story and ask you a question. So I was at a party not too long ago, and I ran into Ben Affleck. I’d had a bit to drink, and I was super excited to see him. And the reason why I’m excited to see Ben is because Ben, like yourself, is an actor who can direct. And I’ve sort of been in development to direct my first feature film. I’ve done a couple of music videos and a couple of shorts, and I’m going into that world of the feature.

And I say to Ben, [slurring] “Oh Ben, hey, man. Bro, can you tell me … I just, like, I think you’re incredible.” I’m like, “I’m so interested in that transition. You’re an actor, and you’re directing, and I want to know what you had to go through and how you’re getting people …” And at the time, he was like, “Idris, just call me.” I didn’t call him ever. But I wanted to pose the same question to you if that’s okay.

And Favreau thinks that a directing move would be fantastic for Elba:

…like Ben said, you could pick up the phone and call him. And you could pick up the phone and call me. There’s definitely a support system among directors where we call each other, because there aren’t many people you can relate to. [laughs] There’s a lot of camaraderie in the field. I don’t find there to be too much competition. But I think you’re going to be fantastic. I would think that people would want to work with you both in front of and behind the camera.

idris elba interview magazine shirtless
CREDIT: Craig McDean/Interview Magazine

Elba is super excited to start promotion for Star Trek, in which he plays a mysterious villain named Krall:

I go straight from this film on to the Star Trek tour. I’m really excited to promote that film. I worked with Justin Lin, who I think is a really talented director, and the crew and cast were phenomenal. I have a really complicated storyline, which, God willing, comes across the way I intend it.

Having worked with a variety of directors (i.e. Ridley Scott, Ken Branagh, Guy Ritchie, Guillermo del Toro…) Elba says he looks for “their 360 vision of their film”:

By 360, I mean every moment has been imagined once or twice, if not 50,000 times, within their heads, from performance to art direction and whatnot. It’s been a master class for me. Working with Guy on RocknRolla [2008], he was embedded in every single detail of the film. You could literally spin him around in a blindfold and stop him somewhere and say, ‘What about this?’ and he’ll go, ‘Ah, that’s this.’ And you’re the same, and Ridley was exactly like that. Ridley would almost sort of cut the film [Prometheus, 2012] while he was watching the takes. Sometimes he’d do a full retake, and sometimes he’d go, ‘I just want to do this moment here.’

But I think the common denominator is that everyone really understands you…The directors [who know every detail] make films that are complete, basically. 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.

idris elba interview magazine
CREDIT: Craig McDean/Interview Magazine

See all of Idris Elba’s smoldering black and white photos here.

Read Elba’s entire interview here.