In the most recent week, Variety and different sources have revealed that Idris Elba has signed on to direct, produce and star in a remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’s going to take a lot to turn him from hunk to hunchback, as you’ll see in these series and movies he stars in on internet TV.
1. HBO’s The Wire: Stringer Bell (Showmax)
Second-in-command to drugs kingpin Avon Barksdale, Russell “Stringer” Bell cuts an imposing figure in the city of Baltimore in HBO’s critically acclaimed crime drama. While Barksdale is in prison, Stringer’s the boss on the outside, and he’s too smart to ever incriminate himself as he tries to legitimise the Barksdale operation.
He’s only around until Season 3, when he meets a sticky end in a rare case of justice being served in this heartbreaking series, and he’s got to be one of the most conniving characters ever seen on TV. The entire boxset of The Wire, Seasons 1 to 5, is on Showmax.
2. MTV Base Meets Idris Elba: Himself (Showmax)
Five idealistic young people from across the African continent got the opportunity to meet Idris Elba when he was in South Africa during filming of the Mandela: Long Road to Freedom movie in 2012, in which he played Tata.
He shared his insights about his art as an actor (“performance is fuelled by passion,” he says), and they also got to hear about his music (did you know that he’s a successful club DJ and recording artist?). Other high-profile personalities interviewed in the MTV Base Meets series include Michelle Obama, Winnie Mandela and Bill Gates, and they’re all available to stream on Showmax.
3. Enchanted Kingdom: Narrator (Showmax)
As if this spellbinding documentary on the wonders of nature could get more beautiful, it’s got Idris Elba’s voice as the audio backdrop (watch out, David Attenborough, this guy’s got some soothing pipes on him). The filming is utterly breathtaking, and brings you eye-to-eye with some of the most glorious scenes imaginable – from the “sea of sand” that is the Namib desert and its ever-shifting, restless dunes full of cleverly adapted creatures to the “great highways” of Africa’s legendary rivers. It’s available for your easy-viewing binge-watch sessions on Showmax.
4. The Dark Tower: Roland (DStv Now)
Based on Stephen King’s epic novels, this sci-fi western movie is about a boy whose mysterious dreams lead him into another world, where Roland the last gunslinger defends the Tower against The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey).
If the Tower falls, both our world and Roland’s will be destroyed, unleashing hell on Earth. The boy, Jake, becomes Roland’s apprentice, and learns that you do not shoot with your hand, but with your mind – and you kill not with your gun, but with your heart. This epic movie is on DStv Now and can be streamed until 19 June.
5. Luther: DCI John Luther (Netflix)
Idris Elba has won a Critic’s Choice Award, a SAG Award and a Golden Globe for his role as John Luther in this British crime drama, and earlier this week the BBC confirmed that he’ll be returning for a fifth season to be filmed later this year.
Season 1 has six episodes, but subsequent seasons only consist of four episodes each, and at only 50 minutes per episode, they make for a quick, immensely satisfying binge session. Netflix has all four seasons to date. Elba plays the obsessive detective with violence and darkness simmering just beneath the surface, and Ruth Wilson plays the psychopathic murderer who’s his greatest nemesis.
6. The Office, Season 5: Charles Miner (Amazon Prime)
None of the Scranton Dunder-Mifflin team is ready for Charles Miner, a manager who arrives out of the blue from corporate and quickly takes over operations at the branch. The women fall all over themselves for him (even stuck-up Angela), but Michael, who senses a threat to his position, and Jim, whom Charles does not find “adorable” (in Dwight’s words), are less impressed.
Our favourite Idris scene is at the company picnic in the Season 5 finale, when Charles gets all “Stringer Bell” on the Scranton branch in a volatile game of volleyball.