Idris Elba takes a risk with “Three Thousand Years of Longing”
It’s not just arthouse selections like this Friday’s “Three Thousand Years of Nostalgia” that have made Idris Elba an internationally recognized and sought-after frontman, it’s his ability to mix it all up with ease.
So last week, Elba scored with “Beast,” a mainstream, high-action, family-friendly popcorn entry. Elba, 50 on September 6, exudes charm and resourcefulness as a widowed father vacationing in South Africa with his two teenage daughters. They find themselves stranded in a private game reserve and a likely meal for a marauding lion.
Elba’s career was launched playing Stringer Bell on the now classic HBO series “The Wire.” From 2010, he won awards as the obsessively violent DCI John Luther in the British detective series “Luther”. In 2015, he won an Independent Spirit Award as a tyrannical commander deploying child soldiers in “Beasts of No Nation.”
Of all Elba’s entries, George Miller’s “3,000 Years” is perhaps the boldest: a dazzling but esoteric riff on the ancient myth of the genie released from a sealed oil lamp who must fulfill the three wishes. of his liberator before he can be free.
Only here, it’s not the friendly story of Robin Williams told in Disney’s “Aladdin,” but an encounter between middle-aged scholar Dr. Alithea Binnie of Tilda Swinton, who meets the Djinn of Elba ( simply pronounced Jin).
Binnie is a specialist in mythology and she is reluctant to make a wish, let alone three. So it’s up to the Djinn to convince her that he’s really real and seduce her into making at least one wish.
When asked what made the character of Djinn so irresistible, Elba explained during a Zoom press conference from London, “He’s a character I’ve never attempted or even wanted to attempt to do.
“It was controversial in the sense that a Genie is one thing, a Djinn is another. Representing the Djinn is like saying, ‘I’m going to play the Devil’ against an evil spirit. So for me, facing the Djinn was kind of, ‘Well, okay, I’m going.’
“As an actor, the challenge is to bring that to life with a touch of entertainment, but with a certain authority. I don’t know anything about Genies or Djinns. So that was very appealing to me as well.
“And I have to create an accent that before this movie I don’t think existed. Phonetically it may sound like things you may have heard before, but the work we did to create its voice really got me excited.
“I love manipulating my sound – to sound like a different character. That’s it!”
“Three Thousand Years of Nostalgia” hits theaters August 26