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Top 10 Idris Elba Roles

With the exciting news that Idris Elba will star in his own Discovery Channel series, Idris Elba: No Limits, let’s celebrate the best roles of the most suave man not to play James Bond (yet).

  1. Obsessed

Over the top, ridiculous, poorly written, and unintentionally hilarious, Idris Elba stars opposite Beyonce in a stalker thriller that never really works. However, Elba succeeds at being just about the only believable part of this film, even as movie wife Beyonce yells at him to get out of the house and pack “prophylactics” if he needs them. So bad, it’s great.

  1. American Gangster

Even though he did get die rather abruptly at the hands of Denzel Washington’s Frank White, Elba’s Tango helped Frank White become the murderous kingpin we know today. So, there’s that.

  1. RocknRolla

Idris plays Mumbles, member of the Wild Bunch, and it’s clear he’s having as much fun as we are. Few can play a smooth British criminal better than Jason Statham, but Elba comes pretty close.

  1. Prometheus

Speaking of mumbles, this role was more exciting than any mumbling he did in Thor. Despite holes in the plot, Campaign Janek is solid and as usual, Elba is missed when off-screen.

  1. The Office

The Office gave Elba a six-episode arc to antagonize Steve Carell’s Michael Scott by playing no-nonsense VP Charles Miner. The Scott-Miner conflict was central to season 5 and introduced Office fans to a new kind of corporate stooge and a very different Idris Elba.

  1. Pacific Rim

The man vowed to cancel the apocalypse and then did. ‘Nuff said.

  1. The Big C

An overlooked character on an overlooked show, Idris Elba plays the smoothest janitor in history (Lenny) and perhaps here is as closest on screen to how we all imagine Idris Elba in real life. He was the best part of the four episodes he appeared in, and Laura Linney looked rightfully sad for a few episodes after he left.

  1. Mandela

Turns out you can’t turn a 600 page book into a movie, but this is probably as close as it gets to working. We are still waiting for a great Mandela film but Elba puts in a hell of a performance here, despite the insane scope of the story being told.

  1. The Wire

Tactful, ruthless, and intelligent, Stringer Bell was one of the top characters on one of the top television shows of all-time. “Well get on with it, moth–”

  1. Luther

John Luther is a mix of Martin Riggs, Sherlock Holmes, and Judge Dredd and it’s wonderful. Worth watching just to see Idris Elba say he’s a “coppa”.


Dani Saad

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. Unless you're Harry Potter in which case you'll lose... everything.