Rolling Out

Idris Elba decoded: Dad, DJ and newly minted director


In the drama, No Good Deed, starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, when Colin goes “knock, knock” during a dreadful storm and Terry answers the door, the “who’s there?” answer is chilling; not quite the fond memory we have of the time-honored knock knock game we played with our parents and peers, or whoever would indulge us.

It starts off as an obvious plot; Colin (Elba) is a fugitive claiming he’s waiting on a tow truck to help him with his stalled car. Terry (Henson), a lonely housewife, knows better but she invites him in anyway. Her intentions are innocent. But, this good deed is true to the adage and it gets punished.

While the husband’s away, the housewife wants to play. It’s a cat-and-mouse game that quickly gets out of hand and the petite housewife realizes Colin is an intruder to whom she offered an invitation. Terry opened her home to a stranger, one she finds easy on the eyes and who temporarily fills her empty love tank. He’s charming and she’s flattered.

“It’s a completely different kind of part for him,” says the director, Sam Miller, who works with Elba on the British TV cop drama, “Luther.” He describes the movie as “a classic claustrophobic, sexy thriller in the neo-noir tradition” that discloses secrets gradually.

“At the center of it is a sympathetic woman who tries to be a good Samaritan,” adds Miller. “Once she is trapped by him, she learns that he is capable of shocking brutality. As the evening progresses, his plans become clearer — and much more frightening. Colin reveals himself slowly, so the audience has to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”

There are many layers to Colin. Like snakes and spiders, he sheds his skin. And the more he sheds, the more terrified we become.

Restoring the Crush

Hmm. Is art imitating life? How well do fans really know Elba?

This writer has to be honest. Prior to seeing the movie, the trailers were quite disturbing. I speak for many black American women when I say we have a constant crush on Idris Elba. I wasn’t ready to see Elba portray Colin — a dark, gruesome, cold and calculating killer.

Didn’t Elba portray gangster Stringer Bell in the crime drama “The Wire” you ask? To your point, it’s a sinister side Colin has that goes deeper than a street thug.
Let’s face it! It took a long time for us to forgive Terrence Howard’s Quentin-the-jackass he portrayed in The Best Man.
While preparing for this interview, I nibbled on skinny fries and oysters Rockefeller, and sat poolside at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills reflecting on the film.

And then, along came a spider.

With an entourage in tow, Elba and his team — a publicist, an assistant, his manager and an associate — whisk past. Through my dark tinted glasses, I side-eyed the actor who kept me on the edge of my seat during the entire movie screening the day before. Turns out, he wasn’t so “creepy” as he walked by dressed in dandy fashion, wearing a pair of oversized round spectacles — he’s actually suave and cool.

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