Idris Elba will replace Will Smith in the James Gunn-helmed Suicide Squad, dropping in 2021. For some reason, to me, this feels like the death knell for Elba to be the monstrous movie star we all know he deserves to be. Don’t @ me, but Elba isn’t where he should and could be. He’s made some career missteps (way more in film and music than on television), but I don’t think this is why he’s bubbled for so long, instead of popping.
He’s branched out as a creative. Yardie — based on one of my favorite books of all time — is directed by him. He’s executive produced a bunch of things, and he was conferred honorary yard status for his chat in the new Wiley tune.
When he is on, he is unstoppable: The Wire, Luther, Beasts of No Nation; he’s about to kill it as Brixton (Salute! To mi bredrin) in the Fast and Furious franchise spin-off Fast and Furious Present: Hobbs& Shaw. Action. Drama. Romance. Science Fiction. Police procedurals. Music. Kickboxing. Philanthropy. Is there anything Idris Elba cannot do?
Yes. He cannot make white male film executives comfortable.
I’m arguing that the reason Elba has been held back from super-duper Tom Cruise level of stardom is because me makes too many white and male green-lighters too uncomfortable.
Idris Elba has more charisma in his beard than most of these “celebrated” white actors have in their entire oeuvre. His chocolatey chocolate. He’s Wesley Snipes, redux. There is zero racial ambiguity (a very profitable and highly sought-after Hollywood commodity). He’s black. He’s Yaphet Kotto in a ninja suit in space, black.
And like Snipes, Elba exists at this anomalous Hollywood four-way intersection of dark skin, charisma, sexuality, and burning intelligence. This scares white folks. I met him once, a few years back, and I thought — just for a minute — that I may have gotten pregnant. His energy is that powerful.
I’ve already presented the vehicles in which I think Elba should own. I’m willing to write both of them. For a reduced fee.
When will we get to see Elba on the big screen with all of his qualities, from the visceral to the cerebral, firing on all cylinders? Was Wesley Snipes the last of the dark skinned actors who were allowed to have full sexual lives on screen, or will Elba get the chance to avoid cinematic castration?
Idris is creeping up on 47 (Virgos! Stand up!). The Denzel switch is about to be flipped. The Denzel switch is when a black male actor, almost instantaneously, flips from sex symbol to someone’s daddy, silent black guardian, asexual eunuch magical negro.
He deserves his shot before then.
All I’m saying is I wish the machine worked as hard for Idris Elba as it did (and does) for Gerard Butler and Jennifer Anniston.
Hell. @ me.