picture 13.pngSpecial to South Florida Times

The movie Takers, about a group of five men who are really good at robbing banks, stars Idris Elba, along with Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy and Paul Walker. It also stars Zoe Saldana as the love interest and T.I. Harris as the villain.

These “takers” dress as dapper gentlemen in most of their scenes and the plot, written by Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, John Luessenhop, and Avery Duff, is simple and seamless.


I had a chance to speak with Elba, a native of Hackney, London, at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach, about his role in Takers, which opens on Friday, Aug. 27, and some of his other projects.

What is the best reason to see Takers?
Non-stop entertainment with wicked characters [who are] charismatic.  Looks good.  Sounds good.  Good story.  And, it has a real character to it.

Can you give us some insight into your Takers character Gordon Cozier?
Gordon Cozier is a career criminal, who’s been doing it a long time.  He’s super ambitious when it comes to stealing.  I don’t think it’s for greed, but for the challenge of it.  He’s got together a good group of guys that surround him.  He’s a leader without being a bossy leader, you could say.  He likes to lead by example and get it done.

What did you identify the most with Gordon?
I made him English.   He was essentially an American character but I wanted him to be like me.  For example, I’ve travelled around the world to be an actor.  I have this worldliness that comes when you travel a lot and I wanted to bring that into this character.

While we’re on the subject of characters, can you tell me about your Heimdall character in Thor due out in 2011?
He is the guardian of Asgard, which is where Thor comes from.  [Heimdall] is a super hero character,  part of the Thor legacy.  I can’t say too much, because I’m not allowed to, but I can say it’s a great film.

In a previous interview with South Florida Times, you mentioned that you would be doing comedy, but you haven’t yet…? 
I think that was because I was going to do The Office at the time.  Yes, I want to do some more.  I haven’t done any more, yet, but, there’s something in the works.  I really can’t say.  But I can say this: Martin Lawrence and I are working together.

Your last few film projects were with ensemble casts.  Will you be starring in anything? 
Yeah, Legacy – a film that I produced – is a really interesting film to watch.  It’s an independent that was screened at this year’s American Black Film Festival.  The next time you’ll get to see it is October, at the Chicago Film Festival.  It’s also going to be put out in a small theatrical release, then Video On Demand, hopefully on Comcast.  After that, it’ll go straight to DVD.

Can you tell me about the TV series Luther
It is an ensemble cast.  It’s a return to the detective genre.  I play a very crumbled-down, intelligent detective.  It’s based in London.  It’s very much a London show.  And, it’s very much a London character.  [Luther] is a mess, though, and very smart.

Will we be able to see it in the States?
Yeah.  I just sold it to BBC America.  So, it should come out here in the fall.

Does your production company, Headshell, have any future projects coming up?
We have Milk & Honey and Black Gymnast, which are webisode ideas.  We’re trying to do small, bite-sized content stuff that we can throw out there. Black Gymnast is a comedy and Milk & Honey is about four black women in Hollywood.  It’s kind of like Sex and the City meets Entourage.

Is there any one thing more you want to say?
We don’t make the money if people buy [bootleg copies] on the street.  It just takes out the gas from our industry.  The reason why Shutter Island and Inception are huge: Nobody was buying them on bootleg.  They’re going to the movies.  So, we, as a people – and when I say “we as a people” I mean the urban scene – shouldn’t buy on bootleg.  Go to the movies.  Go to the movies twice.  That way, when it makes a lot of money, we can make more of these films.

Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com.

Photo: Idris Elba