Idris Elba has taken on a wide variety of roles in television and film throughout his career. Elba always delivers a committed performance. With his undeniable charm, he is hard to dislike, whether he plays the hero, the villain or someone in-between. With an air of authority that mixes perfectly with his attitude to defy it, Idris Elba is both the guy you want to run into battle with and the one you hope you never have to fight. It’s part of what makes him such a fun actor to watch
Take a look with us now as we run through Idris Elba’s best roles in his Hollywood career so far.
10. Pacific Rim (Stacker Pentecost)
How many people can say they canceled the apocalypse? Idris Elba can, as his character, Stacker Pentecost, was a leader in humanity’s fight against gargantuan monsters in director Guillermo del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM. A stoic figure who knew how to really rev up a crowd, Pentecost’s commanding authority made this movie all the more exciting, leading the audience to root for the survival of the human species at his command.
9. Molly’s Game(Charlie Jaffey)
After a career-ending injury, former skier Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) gets caught up in the world of high-stakes underground gambling. Elba plays her lawyer, Charlie Jaffey. His performance — as well as Chastain’s — deserves praise in Aaron Sorkin’s solid but otherwise underwhelming drama.
8. STAR TREK BEYOND (Krull)
In Justin Lin’s exciting disaster movie sequel to J.J. Abram’s Star Trek reboot, Elba plays Krall, the enigmatic antagonist. His motivations and backstory are unclear — but he carries a deep hatred for the United Federation of Planets — of which Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew are members. Elba brings a great performance as a seething authoritarian to a fun film.
7. No Good Deeds (Colin)
Elba was downright terrifying as a charismatic killer sweet-talking his way into the home of a strong, defiant mom played by Taraji P. Henson
6. Daddy’s Little Girls (Monty James)
A mechanic (Idris Elba) enlists the help of a successful, but lonely, attorney (Gabrielle Union) while trying to win custody of his three daughters from his treacherous ex-wife and her larcenous boyfriend. Along the way, the working relationship between the blue collar dad and his uptown attorney grows into something more.
5. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (Nelson Mandela)
Elba makes a good-faith effort in this Nelson Mandela biopic as the titular political figure. It suffers somewhat from the fact that Elba looks almost nothing like the revolutionary. In spite of that, it is a sturdy film which captures well Mandela’s struggles against apartheid in South Africa.
4. Prometheus (Captain Janek)
Prometheus is a bizarre (and not always in a good way) entry into the Alien franchise — but Elba is one of its saving graces. As the captain of the eponymous space vessel, he is a pragmatic, level-headed character with whom the audience can identify. He, like most of Elba’s roles, is hard to dislike, even if the film is not as strong as some of its predecessors.
3. The Office (Charles Miner)
Watching Elba maintain a straight face opposite the comedic finesse of the eternally hilarious Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) has a delicious poetry to it during his brief time as the new (smokin’ hot) boss of Dunder Mifflin.
2. Beasts of no Nation (Commandant)
In Cary Joji Fukunaga’s unblinking drama Beasts of No Nation, a West African child is brought into a rebel militia as his nation descends into civil war. Elba plays the Commandant, the leader of the militia. It is a strong, upsetting performance in a bold and deeply unsettling film.
1. Hobbs and Shaw (Brixton Lore)
Idris Elba was born to play this part. There are moments where he’ll have explosive outbursts, and other moments where his steely glare is enough to cut a mountain in half. Sure, the movie is pretty ridiculous, and all of the characters are larger than life. But if you’re going to have a man claiming to be the black Superman, then you damn well better make it Idris Elba.