The Daily Grind Video

Esquire UK may be a magazine for men, but let’s be real: this cover is absolutely for the ladies.

The man of just about everyone’s dreams, Idris Elba, is the man of the hour just ahead of the release of his biopic Long Walk To Freedom, in which Elba plays Nelson Mandela.

In the latest issue of Esquire UK, the 40-year-old reflects on his journey from Hackney to Hollywood, his early life as a drug dealer in New York City, and those James Bond rumors that surround his career. But when it comes to his personal life, Idris is not here to act like a pristine celebrity.

“Me! The way I live my life, I’m two drinks from being in the tabloids every day. I’m no national treasure. I’m a f***ing dutty rude boy!”

Is that so, Mr. Elba? Check out some additional excerpts from the interview below.

On the idea of playing James Bond:

‘If it f***ing happens, it’s the will of the nation. It’s not because of me. Everywhere I go people are saying, ‘You’d be a great Bond.’ And I want to ask them, ‘Are you saying that because it’s trendy or because you mean it?’ But you can tell by looking in their eyes they mean it!’

Living in Atlanta and London:

‘I have no base. I go from one job to another. As an actor, you have to sell out where you’re from because you’re playing other people. That’s why I DJ, because for one night, I’m me.’

Playing Mandela:

‘People are going to judge me for this role,’ he said. ‘I don’t look like Mandela, some say I don’t deserve it. Whatever. For me, it’s important I am who I am, as I present this piece to the world. I’m 40 and I’ve had a great career. I’m alright to be myself at this point. Look, if I never work again, I don’t care. I did my bit, you know?’

The first time people saw him in character:

‘We did our final checks, and then me and my troops walked in. ANC—boom! I had the haircut. Pa-pow! Young Mandela at his prime! I was f***ing nervous, because this was Soweto – that’s like someone playing Jay Z going into Brooklyn. But I’m telling you, man — people were crying. First take, I’m not even joking. First they were like, ‘It’s Idris Elba’. Then, ‘It’s Idris Elba playing Madiba’ (Mandela’s clan name).Then it’s like, ‘S**t—it’s Madiba!’ It was so layered.’

Check out the behind the scenes video of Idris in the shoot for Esquire UK here. 


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