“Most people thought I was American during The Wire, and then when they found out I wasn’t, I suddenly stuck out like a sore thumb.”
According to Idris Elba, his career was hanging after “The Wire”.
The Emmy nominee revealed he was “missed like a sore thumb” after viewers discovered he was a British actor playing a Baltimore drug dealer in the critically acclaimed HBO series.
“Most people thought I was American during ‘The Wire,’ and then when they found out I wasn’t, I suddenly stuck out like a sore thumb. I felt like they were scrutinizing me more,” Elba said The guardian. “I enjoyed the success, but I don’t think I was forced or stretched as an actor.”
The ‘Luther’ star went on to say: ‘I don’t think I’ve been given roles like anything remarkable. I felt a glass ceiling approaching. I kind of saw the stains on it.”
In fact, you could say that Elba’s post-“Wire” career was like a 40-degree day. Elba told me before Noble that he very much “identified” with his character Stringer Bell and that it was difficult to part with the character.
“He was weak, wasn’t he?” I had no chance. And the feeling that I’m not the guy, but the guy next to the guy. Or I’m not the guy yet, but I can be the guy,” Elba explained. “I was always afraid of being like Stringer Bell. I was always like, damn, this guy is walking around, he was smart as hell, everyone liked him, and he was out. I always feel like this could be me. They can run you over, stab you, shoot you. I can get sick. Nothing is permanent.”
Elba played Stringer Bell on “The Wire” from 2002 to 2004. Series creator David Simon claimed Elba “wasn’t happy” when he was killed off in the series, “when people were starting to discover what a leading man he was,” as Simon told the Associated Press.
“And I remember talking to him about the script and saying, ‘Idris, you’re getting movie roles. You will be an A-lister. Men will receive this death; they’re going to get that story arc after the fact — that’s your calling card, man,” Simon told Elba at the time. “You’ll be fine.”
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