Idris Elba has previously expressed his desire to direct, and, in fact, has done so at least thrice: first, there was a short film for Pepsi’s “Beats of the Beautiful Game” project 3 years ago, which was a collection of 11 songs that were each accompanied by short films. Elba, Spike Lee, Diego Luna and others all directed films for the series that aimed to “capture the sights, sounds and international spirit of football” (or soccer as we know it here in the USA). This was in celebration of the World Cup in Brazil in 2014; and secondly, there were 2 SKY Arts “Playhouse Presents” one-off dramas he directed in 2013 and 2015 – one titled “King for a Term,” which followed a 9 year old boy and his experience starting at a school for disabled children, and the other titled “The Pavement Psychologist,” which chronicled the intriguing relationship between an affable businesswoman and a charismatic homeless man (Nonso Anozie starred in the film).
The actor is now set to make his feature directorial debut with the drug-trafficking drama “Yardie” for the big screen, for which we’ve received casting information. A StudioCanal, Green Door Pictures, Sprout Pictures and BBC Films production, “Yardie” will be a big-screen adaptation of Victor Headley’s novel which is set in 1980s Hackney, and follows the rise of a young Jamaican in London’s drug-dealing underworld.
“Yardie” was the first novel by Jamaican-born British writer Headley, published in London in 1992. The novel borrows its title from a slang term originally given to occupants of housing projects.
The project is currently casting, so no word on who else is involved at this time.
Elba will have one of his best years ever, with 4 high profile films set for release over the remaining 8 months of 2017, starring as the leading male in 2 of them: “The Dark Tower,” “The Mountain Between Us,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Molly’s Game.” He just might be in 2018’s Oscar mix.
Pick up a copy of “Yardie” if you’d like to read the novel before it becomes a film.