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Top 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Idris Elba

He’s Just That Cool

Whether it’s on the screen or in the DJ booth, Idris Elba has proven himself time and time again to be an immensely talented individual. There’s also the fact that he might just be the slickest guy on the planet who never fails to light up the room with his immense charisma. If you consider yourself an Elba fanatic, you might find these obscure facts regarding the actor rather fascinating.

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#5: He Once Lived in a Van

Money is often tight for aspiring actors, and Elba once revealed that he had to sleep in a van while looking for jobs in New York. To bring in funds, he worked in an amazing variety of roles including as a club doorman and a cold-call advertiser. But his most eye-catching job was as an actor on “Crimewatch,” in which he played criminals in gruesome reconstructions in what he says was one of his toughest acting gigs of his life. Good practice for his breakthrough role in “The Wire,” we reckon!

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#4: He’s the Pinnacle of Fashion

Elba regularly features in the upper echelons of GQ magazine’s annual list of the 50 best-dressed British men, being labelled the “perfect combination of traditional and stylish.” It’s unsurprising, then, that in 2015 he helped to design his own 250-piece clothing line in association with fashion retailer Superdry. Idris’s involvement coincided with an uplift in the brand’s fortunes, with pre-tax profits at Superdry’s parent company rising by over 50% in just two years. The actor has since gone on to launch his very own clothing company, “Shoot The Rehearsal,” in 2018.

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#3: He’s Been to Prison … Sort Of

In preparation for his starring role in the 2013 biographical film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” Elba went to great lengths to understand his character. As well as researching Nelson Mandela’s history, he travelled to Robben Island and spent a night in the jail where the late South African President was imprisoned for 18 years. Alone, and with nothing but a blanket for a mattress, Elba managed just one hour of sleep thanks largely to the ghosts he says haunt the island. Rather you than us, Idris.

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#2: He’s a Record Breaker

Elba is a self-confessed petrol-head, and in 2015 he featured in another Discovery Channel miniseries called “Idris Elba: No Limits.” As well as taking part in drag-racing and rallying, Idris travelled to Pendine Sands beach in Wales to attempt to break the British land speed record – known as the Flying Mile. And he succeeded, too, despite challenging tidal conditions. The previous record was set at 174.8 mph by Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1927, but Elba comfortably surpassed it with an impressive 180.361 mph in his Bentley Continental GT Speed.

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#1: He Didn’t Want to Play Stringer Bell

HBO series “The Wire” may have made Idris famous, but he didn’t originally audition for the part of his best-known character. Instead he wanted the role of Bell’s boss, Avon Barksdale, who was ultimately played by Wood Harris. Elba once revealed he had mixed feelings about Stringer Bell’s death in series 3. For, whilst he admitted he missed getting paid for the role, he believed his character glorified drug dealers and deserved to die. And Stringer Bell certainly lived and died by the sword – or gun, in this case.

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Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Actors Who Should Play James Bond.

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