I just read something that does not compute. Ben Affleck — you know, enthusiastic Tom Brady defender, B v S Batfleck — blew off our Idris at a party? It certainly sounds that way, and Elba almost sounds miffed, but he’s too classy for that. In a new Interview interview (heh) with Jon Favreau, the actor mentions wanting to learn from other actors who’ve moved into directing (he has aspirations): when Elba ran into Affleck at a party, Ben apparently couldn’t carve out a few moments right then, and gave our man the old “call me” line. Are you kidding me? Not for nothing, but John Luther, Stringer Bell, Heimdall — Affleck should have fallen at his feet to talk to Idris, not the other way around.
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.
Of course, Jon Favreau is smarter than a Batfleck, and he had just the right response:
Well, the first thing I would say is, just on a gut level, I would buy Idris stock as a director.
Favreau goes on to give Elba some solid advice — basically that he’s on the right track working with directors who’re all in (Scott, Del Toro, Ritchie) — apprenticing with the best is an education you can’t get any other way.
Speaking about working on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower with Nikolaj Arcel, Elba said he went in curious about westerns and “trying out the whole cowboy thing.” Favreau mentions that even Daniel Craig called the cowboy fantasy universal (it’s not just an American thing) and got in a timely joke about Idris’ Bonanza love: “Yeah. I guess it took a while for our programs to get to you because that was before my time.” But, still, Idris enjoys whipping out his guns because, you know, it feels good.
I’ve always wanted to try the whole cowboy feel and look, so when I took this role, I was wondering, “Are we going to bring that to life in this character? Is he a real cowboy?” And the answer was no. We had to reinvent that a little bit because the world—it’s quite a fantastical world and we aren’t making a Western. But there’s definitely some characteristics from those great cowboy movies, the Sergio Leone movies and all. I was definitely drawn to it. I’ve got two smoking guns that just look incredible, and I love to pull them out whenever I can. [laughs]
The piece is a great read, and gives a sense of Elba’s utter commitment to working with the best people and putting himself out there in every way. What I really love is his modesty and appreciation of what he does. There are so many people in the entertainment business who convey a sense of privilege or a feeling of being above everything, but, with Idris — he always sounds so down to earth, and … human. He’s just gorgeously, humbly human, and putting himself out there for us to appreciate.
Photos via/read more at Interview, and here are a few more Dark Tower set photos currently making the interweb rounds, including Idris’ Gunslinger in a shootout with Jackie Earle Haley’s Sayre.