33 Interesting Facts about Idris Elba

Idris Elba is a renowned British actor, producer, musician, and DJ, born on September 6, 1972, in London, England. He grew up in Hackney and East Ham, where he discovered his passion for acting during his teenage years. Elba’s career started in theater, and he eventually transitioned to television, gaining recognition for his roles in popular British shows like “The Wire” and “Luther.”

His breakthrough role came in the American television series “The Wire” (2002-2004), where he played the character of Russell “Stringer” Bell. This role brought him international acclaim and established him as a talented actor in the industry. Following this success, Elba has appeared in numerous successful films and television series, showcasing his versatility and range as an actor.

In addition to his acting career, Idris Elba has made significant contributions to the music industry, known by his stage name DJ Big Driis. He has released music, performed as a DJ, and collaborated with various artists. His accomplishments extend beyond entertainment, as he has also been recognized for his philanthropic efforts, advocating for issues like diversity in the film industry and supporting educational initiatives. Idris Elba continues to be a prominent figure in the entertainment world, revered for his talent, charisma, and dedication to various artistic pursuits.

Idris Elba

Idris Elba (Wikimedia)

Here are 33 interesting facts about Idris Elba to know more about him.

  1. Birth Name: Idris Elba’s full name is Idrissa Akuna Elba.
  2. Multinational Heritage: Elba was born in London, England, to a Sierra Leonean father and a Ghanaian mother.
  3. Early Jobs: Before acting, Elba worked various odd jobs, including DJing at weddings and clubs, and even had stints as a tire-fitter and a cold call advertising salesman.
  4. Accents: Idris Elba’s accent is often a subject of interest. He’s known for seamlessly shifting between his natural East London accent and an American accent for various roles.
  5. Music Career: Elba is also a skilled musician and has released several EPs and singles showcasing his talent as a rapper and singer.
  6. DJing: He has a successful side career as a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis or Big Driis the Londoner.
  7. Kickboxing Enthusiast: Elba is an avid kickboxing enthusiast and even documented his journey to become a professional kickboxer in a documentary series titled “Idris Elba: Fighter.”
  8. HBO’s “The Wire”: His role as Stringer Bell in the critically acclaimed series “The Wire” brought him international fame and is considered one of his breakthrough roles.
  9. “Luther”: Elba starred as the brilliant but troubled detective John Luther in the British crime drama television series “Luther,” a role that earned him critical acclaim and several awards.
  10. Order of the British Empire (OBE): In 2016, he was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to drama.
  11. Marvel Universe: Elba portrayed the character Heimdall in Marvel’s Thor film series, gaining him a substantial fan following.
  12. Directorial Debut: He made his directorial debut with the film “Yardie,” a crime drama based on Victor Headley’s novel of the same name.
  13. Nominated for Golden Globe: He received a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Nelson Mandela in the biographical film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”
  14. “The Office” Cameo: Elba made a cameo appearance in the U.S. version of “The Office” as Charles Miner, a temporary supervisor at Dunder Mifflin.
  15. Twin Sister: Idris Elba has a twin sister named Isan, who is known for being an ambassador for mental health awareness.
  16. Voice Work: He provided the voice for the tiger Shere Khan in the live-action adaptation of “The Jungle Book” (2016).
  17. Early Acting: His first acting role was in a British medical drama called “Bramwell.”
  18. Tall Stature: Elba is known for his impressive height, standing at approximately 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 meters).
  19. “Pacific Rim”: He starred as Stacker Pentecost in the science fiction film “Pacific Rim” (2013), further showcasing his versatility in different film genres.
  20. SAG Awards: He has won several Screen Actors Guild Awards for his performances in both film and television.
  21. “Molly’s Game”: Elba portrayed a lawyer in the film “Molly’s Game” (2017) and received critical acclaim for his role.
  22. Documentary Narration: Elba has lent his distinctive voice to various documentaries, including “The Dark Tower: The Legacy of the Gunslinger” and “Mandela, My Dad, and Me.”
  23. Acting Mentor: His acting mentor is the renowned American actor and filmmaker, Delroy Lindo.
  24. “The Mountain Between Us”: He starred opposite Kate Winslet in the film “The Mountain Between Us” (2017), showcasing his romantic lead capabilities.
  25. Cannabis Discovery: In a DNA test show, it was revealed that he is distantly related to the British cannabis activist and researcher, Dr. James H. W. Shott.
  26. “Finding Dory”: Elba voiced the character of Fluke, a sea lion in the animated film “Finding Dory” (2016).
  27. Role Model: One of his role models is actor Sidney Poitier, the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.
  28. Football Obsession: Idris Elba is an ardent fan of Arsenal Football Club, a Premier League club based in North London.
  29. Theatre Background: He has a strong foundation in theatre acting, having attended the National Youth Music Theatre and later the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
  30. Successful Ad Campaigns: Elba has been the face of several advertising campaigns, including for luxury car brand Jaguar.
  31. “The Dark Tower”: He played the lead role of Roland Deschain in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s series “The Dark Tower” (2017).
  32. “Thor: Ragnarok”: In this Marvel film, he reprised his role as Heimdall, which was highly praised by fans and critics.
  33. COVID-19 Diagnosis: Elba tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020 and has since been an advocate for proper health precautions and testing.

Idris Elba, the multifaceted artist with boundless talent and charisma, has undeniably left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. From the gritty streets of East London to the grandeur of Hollywood, his journey showcases not only exceptional acting prowess but also his versatility as a musician and DJ. With roles that range from the stern yet compassionate Stringer Bell in “The Wire” to the iconic Heimdall in Marvel’s Thor series, Elba has captivated audiences globally. Beyond the silver screen, he remains an advocate for diverse representation and an inspiration for aspiring artists. His story embodies the belief that determination, talent, and a relentless pursuit of one’s passions can indeed carve a remarkable legacy, and Idris Elba’s legacy is nothing short of extraordinary.