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Idris Elba Enjoys Playing Villains: It’s Like Therapy

Elba played several villains in screen projects like ‘Beasts of No Nation,’ ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ and ‘The Harder They Fall.’

Idris Elba described playing ‘completely socially unacceptable’ characters as therapy in a new chat with Wall Street Journal. He shared:

“These people get to say things that we only think in the deepest, darkest recesses of our brains. They say horrible things and scream horrible things and get to be completely socially unacceptable. As an actor, that’s sometimes a gift, sometimes a bit of therapy.”

The actor credited good writing for memorable villains:

“When you see a really interesting bad guy, you’re going to think about the actor, but think about the writer. It’s the writer who’s dark. You’ve got to give him or her a hug.”

Elba last appeared in the Apple TV+ thriller series, ‘Hijack,’ and came back as John Luther in the Netflix spinoff ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun.’ He also voiced Knuckles the Echidna in ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ and self-titled show.

Elba Seeks Actual Therapy As Well

The actor previously mentioned being a workaholic and getting actual therapy for the issue. His words to the ‘Changes with Annie Macmanus’ podcast read:

“I work in an industry [where] I’m rewarded for those unhealthy habits. I’m rewarded for them. I’m an absolute workaholic. And that isn’t great for life, generally. I’ve been in therapy for about a year now.”

He went on:

“I could work 10 days on a film, underwater sequences holding my breath for six minutes, and come back and sit in [the studio] and [feel relaxed], more so than sitting on the sofa with the family — which is bad right? This is the part where I’ve got to normalize what makes me relaxed, it can’t be all work.”

Idris Elba now has new projects down the line. He is set to appear in Ilya Naishuller’s upcoming action comedy ‘Heads of State’ and the survival thriller ‘Above the Below.’ He’s also a co-director for the latter.



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