We all have ways to kill downtime between obligations. Some of us knit. Some of us scroll endlessly through Twitter. And some of us are like Idris Elba, who, during breaks from filming the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, decided to write, produce, and record an original song inspired by his villainous character.
When EW visited the set of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw in January, we sat down with Elba in his trailer to discuss his heel turn as the film’s cyber-enhanced antagonist, Brixton. The film follows its namesake heroes, Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, as they reluctantly join forces to stop Brixton from stealing a globe-threatening virus and unleashing it upon the world. (Typical bad guy stuff.)
So what did Elba do between scenes of planning global mischief and brawling with Statham and Johnson? Well, he explained, he wrote a song on his iPad, inspired by his character. And then he polished it and eventually recorded it with Cypress Hill. And then he played the final mix for director David Leitch, who liked it so much he decided to include it in a scene in the final film.
“People know that I DJ and I make music and all that, but the hybrid of being able to put something that I’ve made specifically for a movie I’m in is new territory for me,” Elba told EW.
The 46-year-old actor may be best known for his dramatic roles in The Wire and Luther, but he’s also spent years spinning records under the name DJ Big Driis. Before he landed The Wire, he supported himself by taking DJ gigs wherever he could, and although his music career has largely taken a backseat to his acting, he still performs and writes. In April, he performed at Coachella, and he recently signed a global publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group.
“Idris is an artist in so many ways; he’s an incredible actor and also a martial artist and a musician,” Leitch says. “And when you’re surrounded by artists like that, you want to just take advantage of it and support the creativity and see where it goes.”
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