Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of famous quotes by Idris Elba on music, creativity, people, time, nature, success and character.

96 Badass Idris Elba Quotes

Quick Facts

Famous As: Actor

Born On: September 6, 1972

Born In: London Borough of Hackney

The multi-talented British superstar Idris Elba has been active in the industry for the past 25 years. A versatile thespian, he has portrayed a wide range of characters both on the stage and screen. Ambitious and innovative, he began his career as a disc jockey in the 1980s and later started using the moniker DJ Big Driis (or Big Driis the Londoner). He is widely considered to be a sex symbol, much to his own surprise. Besides acting and music, he is also passionate about motorcycles and sneakers. We have collected several of his quotes from various interviews, articles. speeches, and social media posts. Here are some of the things that he has to say on music, creativity, people, time, nature, success and character.

You’re directing a movie, but you are at the head of a ship of people, a whole fleet of people. And being able to manage that - being able to handle yourself as a director being a leader - that’s massively important.

Idris Elba

Imagine a film such as Inception with an entire cast of black people - do you think it would be successful? Would people watch it? But no one questions the fact that everyone's white. That's what we have to change.

Idris Elba

The one album I can't live without is called 'Cumbolo' by a band called Culture. Every song on their album is deep, but there's one in particular called 'This Train.' I have a tattoo of the lyrics on my left arm.

Idris Elba

There's the argument that you can relate to someone who's completely unrelatable. In the way that a director shows you his imagination on a film, then I get to show you my imagination in a big dumb character.

Idris Elba

What I like about their films is that you actually feel the momentum of whatever they're shooting. So, if someone's falling out a window, it gives the opportunity to show what that might feel like.

Idris Elba

It was deeply important for me to understand where Mandela came from. Because we know where he was going, and that's a famous story, but who was he? Where did he come from? What was his upbringing?

Idris Elba

Nobody likes a celebrity DJ for the sake of style, so I don't do that - I try to be good at what I do. It's all about resetting, it's my escape. It is work, it's a job, but I just love doing it.

Idris Elba

I want to go to Sierra Leone with something - whether it's some sort of contribution to healthcare, or to the entertainment industry. My cousin is a nurse; we are talking about opening a clinic.

Idris Elba

In 'Pacific Rim' I had to have a haircut I wouldn't usually rock. However, the moustache I had in the film - that might have to come out again. It was a good moustache. Good times.

Idris Elba

What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world.

Idris Elba

Apparently, Daniel Craig said I'd be a great Bond. Daniel, why did you say that? Dropped me right in it! What an honor it would be, but also, what an indication of change.

Idris Elba

You know, film is the ultimate goal in an actor's career. I mean, I still love TV. I have my feet firmly stamped in it. But my opportunities have been bigger and better.

Idris Elba

The long and short of it is that I am now in a position in England to green light movies, and that's really excellent - not high-budget movies, but movies none the less.

Idris Elba

I'm a little sheepish about it. Whenever I meet fans and they're like, 'Oh, you're so sexy,' I just don't get that. There's no way one man can be universally sexy.

Idris Elba

I was on a well-beaten path of actors - what we all call 'the Law and Order route'. I spent two years of auditioning for everything... and then 'The Wire' came up.

Idris Elba

Sean Connery wasn't the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn't the blue-eyed James Bond. So if I played him, I don't want to be called the black James Bond.

Idris Elba

I watch my daughter wanting to be like other kids and getting upset that she's not. But I always try and instill in her the idea that she's perfect as she is.

Idris Elba

White actors still get way more money in Hollywood. It's been that way for a very long time. I hope it'll change, but it's a matter of forcing that change.

Idris Elba

Actors tend to not know how their performances are going to actually be used. Even though the script says one thing, in the edit, it can be something else.

Idris Elba

I'd rather a young black actor read about success as opposed to how tough it was. I get these roles because I can act and that's it. Hopefully that's it.

Idris Elba

It's really funny because the same people who loved me as Stringer Bell were the same people that were watching Daddy's Little Girls literally in tears.

Idris Elba

Because I was big, I didn't have to listen to anyone doubting me. I was just considered good at football or whatever, there were no questions about it.

Idris Elba

As an actor, you're trained to do the right thing, be politically correct, say your lines, say the right thing about the people you're working with...

Idris Elba

I'm not a popular actor. I don't necessarily want to be famous. I want to be known for great work. I want to be known to surprise audiences.

Idris Elba

Yeah, I know, any time you hear an actor say, 'I do music', you cringe. But I want to be gradual with my music. I want to earn my stripes.

Idris Elba

My definition of bad-ass is that I'm a force of nature and true spirit. I'm self-admitting that, and it sounds vain to say that, but I am.

Idris Elba

I get criticized for taking roles in films like Ghost Rider 2, but if you look at my résumé, dude, I've mixed it up as much as I can.

Idris Elba

The English are good at bad guys - the James Bond-style villain, cunning, slow-burning. The Americans are much more obvious about it.

Idris Elba

I'll always be attached to telly in one way or another, whether it's a character or producer or director, I just love the medium.

Idris Elba

Are there differences between black actors’ opportunities and white actors’ opportunities? Yes, there are. It’s been said.

Idris Elba

When you come from an under-privileged background, oftentimes, you feel a little overwhelmed by your education or your lack of.

Idris Elba

I love working. I'm a workaholic and I'm really privileged for some of the jobs I get offered and so I just want to keep going.

Idris Elba

[Sometimes] I sit in front of my [gaming] console with my headphones on and I play. I love that. It's a nice form of escapism.

Idris Elba

I love bikes. I used to own one, but I fell off it when I was younger and that was the end of my bike riding days until now.

Idris Elba

I still sing on bits and pieces. Singing's something that I love to do, but it's not something that I pursue as a career.

Idris Elba

I knew that if I wanted to be all I could be, I would have to go to the US. It took three years to get the accent right.

Idris Elba

The only thing I change mainly is my sneakers. I love sneakers. But everything's sort of black or jeans. Jeans, always.

Idris Elba

I'm tactile, very tactile. A woman who has really nice, looked-after skin is such a turn-on for me. It's always sexy.

Idris Elba

I did a rendition of Billie Jean which is on my Soundcloud. I put it on Twitter, and it got about 3000 hits that day.

Idris Elba

I was always a real athletic kid. Then when I got older, I just figured it was part of life to keep training.

Idris Elba

There's a fast-track if you can do the networking. For some personalities it works, but for mine it doesn't.

Idris Elba

Being able to work with Ridley Scott on this film is like being able to play on the Olympic team for actors.

Idris Elba

Television, for me, is a medium that I'm probably always going to be attached to, one way or another.

Idris Elba

I've got two smoking guns that just look incredible, and I love to pull them out whenever I can.

Idris Elba

I don't get recognised that much yet in London, but when I do I get a real sense of achievement.

Idris Elba

Every leading lady I work with, I'll see if I can get a song out of them and put it on an album.

Idris Elba

I've always been DJing; it's just I'm making more of a push for it, making it more public.

Idris Elba

It could be Grammy night, Oscar night, whatever - I don't feel the pressure to be there.

Idris Elba

Working at BBC, at the head of one of the top dramas, is a tradition for great actors.

Idris Elba

What really excites me in a project is when it goes in a way you haven't been before.

Idris Elba

I was into Spider Man when I was a kid and that was the only comic I've ever read.

Idris Elba

There has been a big debate about it: can a black man play a Nordic character?

Idris Elba

The directors [who know every detail] make films that are complete, basically.

Idris Elba

I've never had to explain Prometheus to people, ever. Most people get it.

Idris Elba

It's actually quite criminal how 'The Wire' was systematically ignored.

Idris Elba

I was in The Wire for three years, and I left at the highlight of that.

Idris Elba

I've been DJing mostly, and most DJs end up producing. That's just me.

Idris Elba

I love to play different roles. That's just the kind of actor I am.

Idris Elba

My Father always told me that a fool at 40 is a fool for life.

Idris Elba

People watch three or four episodes at a time of their shows.

Idris Elba

Africans, we hold on to our youths and whip them into shape.

Idris Elba

Waking up in TRUTH is so much better than living in a lie.

Idris Elba

The audience loves it when you pay attention to details.

Idris Elba

Every single film I've done, it's about the character.

Idris Elba

I wasn't bad at school, but I was never a bookworm.

Idris Elba

In some countries, no one knows who Idris Elba is.

Idris Elba

The less I talk about being black, the better.

Idris Elba

I would never be fearful of any character.

Idris Elba

I try to fit in workouts whenever I can.

Idris Elba

I tend to stay away from the comics.

Idris Elba

Television is where I cut my teeth.

Idris Elba

I'm never shaken or stirred.

Idris Elba

If I was gonna go to jail, I don't want to go to jail for stealing a bottle of water. I'll steal that $20 million. At least then it was worth it.

Idris Elba

The adrenaline feeling of jumping out of cliffs and bikes and all of that is very specific to the film. In 'Pac Rim' I'm not doing that so much. There isn't that touch stonework for me in it, but there is a lot of action.

Idris Elba

I'm an ambitious person. I never consider myself in competition with anyone, and I'm not saying that from an arrogant standpoint, it's just that my journey started so, so long ago, and I'm still on it and I won't stand still.

Idris Elba

I'm rebelling against being handed a career, like, 'You're the next this; you're the next that.' I'm not the next anything, I'm the first me. I can't be myself, I can't just be Idris Elba. But that's just the nature of the business.

Idris Elba

I think 'The Wire' really is relatable. It reflects an ongoing issue across America, about inaccuracies in major cities between rich and the poor and some of the things that go on behind the red tape of council and government bodies.

Idris Elba

I find that a lot of actors who are good and open to challenges have lived a full life. When you walk into an audition, you have more to say for yourself because you come from the real world. It's more enticing for directors, I think.

Idris Elba

It's weird because my parents don't really understand my business. I get fan mail all day long, but if a piece happens to get to their house, they're like, 'Oh, my God, you've got a fan! You have to write them back. You have to do it!

Idris Elba

I dont have a place that I call home at the moment because theres no point. I mean, Im a traveling circus for a while. Its weird. Like, if I wanted to go home, theres nowhere to go. I just go to a hotel. But Ive kind of gotten used to it.

Idris Elba

I think there's a tendency for actors like myself, and I don't mean to generalize myself, but I've played 'men's men,' if you will, characters that are simmering rage and calculated. There's a trend not to play anything that is opposed to that.

Idris Elba

I come from an era, in my world, where you just had to define yourself as who you are and what you do. I happen to be an actor. I happen to be someone that loves to act, that also likes music, that also likes to speak, and that also has an opinion.

Idris Elba

What kind of role do you play after someone like Stringer, you know what I mean? You play another gangster. What’s the point of that? I’ve played the gangster. I try to keep it really varied; it just makes for more of a fun and interesting career.

Idris Elba

I'm not interested in making all-black films - I come from a very diverse culture, I want to work with every type of person. I work a lot with women executives because they seem to be a lot more open minded about that and a lot more progressive in that way.

Idris Elba

When I look at my body of work, I've played a lot of characters who are morally conflicted - 'I'm right, no I'm wrong, I don't know what to do!' I want to play more characters who don't care as much, and who aren't as measured. They are what they are, no apologies.

Idris Elba

As much as it's nice to step into that massive world of Hollywood and be a big, famous actor, I prefer the career of actors that have really chosen smartly and done really amazing performances. Maybe they're not as known, but their careers are a bit more interesting.

Idris Elba

One of my first jobs was in a soap opera, five days a week. And what I found is, although there are different directors coming in and different crews, you just lived in your character. It's the nature of the story, the ongoing story, and it can get deeper and deeper.

Idris Elba

The role of my agent has just been to get me in the room. If I can get in the room - say the character is just a charming man who lives next door - then I'll walk in there and be as charming as I can and they will think to themselves, 'I don't see why we can't cast him.

Idris Elba

I was cast in 'Thor' and I'm cast as a Nordic god. If you know anything about the Nords, they don't look like me but there you go. I think that's a sign of the times for the future. I think we will see multi-level casting. I think we will see that, and I think that's good.

Idris Elba

We're all human beings. Experience is experience, let's just be honest. Let's not try and dissect suffering into a race, or whatever you want to call it. We're all human beings, one way or another. All races have gone through times that are challenging; that's part of being a human.

Idris Elba

Bond? It is a bit like saying, 'Do you want to play Superman?' Anyone would dream of it. It's one of the most coveted roles in film. I'd be honoured. But I don't know if it will actually happen. I'm just happy with the idea of being associated with it. It's nice there's a lot of good will.

Idris Elba

If you go to Africa and you're white, you're probably not going to get that much work either. But the fact is that there is a longer history of black integration in the U.S. I don't have any resentment about this: I did the maths, calculated it against my ambition and decided to leave England.

Idris Elba

I wanted to be on American TV so much. I didn't park DJ'ing; I just sort of ended up becoming more of a studio guy. I had a bit more money and I could buy every little piece of equipment and drum machine that had just come out - I've got quite a collection now - and I continued to collect music.

Idris Elba

I lived in America for a long time before I started working as an actor. Some actors show up on set and have never done an American accent before, so they rely on a slew of technical mechanisms. Part of what makes an accent is understanding why people speak that way - you have to understand the culture.

Idris Elba

Even when I went to America I didn't work for four years. It wasn't like I came to New York and it was the land of milk and honey. It was just as much of a hard graft. But there's a lot more opportunity nowadays across the board for actors, no matter what color you are, with the Internet and small productions.

Idris Elba

There are things that I really find important, and that we need to remind ourselves of. When you think about disability, do you really think about it? Someone who's a full-time trainer or a boxer, someone who's got a major disability, but who doesn't let that get in his way, that's a really good message for someone who is able-bodied. It can make them think, 'Wow, I suppose I could be doing better for myself.'

Idris Elba