The climb up the Hollywood A-list ladder isn’t easy, especially when you’re an actor of color. But Idris Elba is on a mission to find his place amongst the stars with industry titans Denzel Washington and Will Smith. The last two years have been extremely kind to Elba, as he’s made the move into the mainstream with roles in last year’s summer hit Thor, winning a Golden Globe for the BBC procedural “LUTHER” and is now heating up the screen Captain Janek in this summer’s sci-fi blockbuster Prometheus.
With fame comes lots of media attention and Elba’s honesty always makes for some juicy sound bites. Idris is every publicist’s wet dream because almost all of his interviews are just so darn buzzworthy. But as with any celebrity, there are just some questions you just shouldn’t bring up. Not that Idris is dishonest, mind you–a Google search will pretty much provide you with the answers needed.
We’ve rounded up five questions that will guarantee any reporter a very polite “Sod off!” from our favorite chocolate boy wonder.
1. “How does it feel being a sex symbol?”
Unfortunately, quite a few female writers/bloggers are guilty of asking Idris this question ad nauseum partly because they can’t control their inner groupie. While I’m sure they think the question is complimentary, it really comes off sounding like a question better suited for Tiger Beat Magazine. Yes the man is gorgeous, but let’s try stimulating the organ between his ears and not between his legs.
Check out what Idris had to say about being the object of women’s affections in this 2011 interview with Life Files:
2. “How do you feel about the lack of opportunities for black actors?”
Idris has never held his tongue when it comes to the challenges of being an actor in lily-white Hollywood. When The Academy failed to nominate a single black actor in 2011, Idris stated bluntly “The Oscars aren’t designed for us” and encouraged Black Hollywood to take a more proactive role in creating more opportunities by producing their own films.
But after years of countless interviews, how many different ways can you answer the same question that has such an obvious answer? Idris finally called a moratorium on this subject in an interview with New York Magazine:
“Next question, I’m so bored of answering that. Are there differences between black actors’ opportunities and white actors’ opportunities? Yes, there are. It’s been said. 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.”
3. “Would you consider being the first Black James Bond?”
Last year, a rumor circulated on the possibility of Idris inheriting the 007 franchise. While stating he would definitely consider taking on the role of the world’s most iconic spy, he made it clear that it should be color-blind casting.
“I would do it, but I don’t want to be called the first black James Bond. Do you understand what I’m saying? 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.”
4. “How many children do you have?”
Elba has proven himself to be a devoted father to his daughter Isan, even taking her as his date at the Emmys. In a 2010 cover story in Upscale Magazine, he mentioned his growing family with the birth of his son Otenga stating: “I have kids. I love my children and I love my kids. But they are not part of that world,” he said referring to Hollywood.
A year later when journalist dream hampton asked Idris how his daughter liked being an older sister, he quickly replied, “I only have one daughter.” I’m guessing Otenga’s paternity test crushed Idris’ dream of having the Elba name carried on.
5. “Would you care to clarify your statement?”
As mentioned before, Idris is very forthright in his interviews and rarely worries about political correctness. Whether it’s calling out Hollywood on their racist practices or * gasp * critiquing the almighty Tyler Perry, Idris gives it to you straight, feelings be damned. But whatever you do, please don’t ask him to expound on something he’s said in the past.
Watch Idris put a reporter in check when she asked him to “justify” statements he made about Madea at the now infamous 2011 Rutgers University symposium:
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