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"Idris Elba"

Mon Jul 03 2023
Idris ElbaThe WireAmerican accentsFilm industryPrometheusRidley ScottHijackedJames BondSillyfaceDJing


The episode features Idris Elba, a world-famous DJ and actor, discussing his career, projects, and personal insights. The hosts also touch on topics such as American accents, working in the film industry, and behind-the-scenes stories. Idris shares his experiences with racing cars, his passion for music, and his role in the TV show The Wire. The episode concludes with a discussion about Idris' show 'Hijacked' and his motivation to pursue creative endeavors.


Idris Elba's Career

Idris Elba's career has been diverse, spanning from TV shows like The Wire to big budget films. He has faced challenges with mastering the American accent but has received praise for his performances. Despite being on a successful TV show, he did not immediately receive a flood of job offers. His passion for music and DJing has been a lifelong interest.

Working in the Film Industry

The actor prefers the fast-paced shooting style of TV shows but also enjoys the opportunity to dig into scenes in big budget films. The director shares his love for small scale projects like music videos. They discuss their experiences working on Prometheus and their admiration for Ridley Scott.

Behind the Scenes

The engineer in a scene was based on a real-life engineer who is about eight feet tall. Idris Elba and Sean have worked together in the film Zootopia. There are rumors of Idris' involvement in the new Star Wars movie. Idris is an Abba fan and has DJed weddings. The discussion touches on the controversy surrounding Idris potentially playing James Bond.

Idris Elba's Projects

Idris Elba discusses his show 'Hijacked' on Apple, where he plays a male flight attendant involved in a hijacking. He also talks about his marketing agency Sillyface and the importance of storytelling and authenticity in advertising.

Personal Insights

Idris Elba shares his perspective as an artist and his love for DJing. He values saying less and only speaking when necessary. He talks about his children and the limited career options available in video games. The episode concludes with a discussion about Cheez-its and popcorn.


  1. Introduction
  2. Idris Elba's Career
  3. Idris Elba's Projects
  4. Idris Elba's Career Continued
  5. Working in the Film Industry
  6. Behind the Scenes
  7. Idris Elba's Projects Continued
  8. Personal Insights
  9. Closing Remarks


00:05 - 07:07

  • The podcast hosts have changed and they are now on a cooking show called Six Can Chili.
  • They discuss the ingredients for the chili, including four different kinds of garlic.
  • Sean didn't shower after a sweaty theater performance and ate a large bowl of spaghetti and ice cream, which made him groggy.
  • They talk about watching a Raiders of the Lost Ark marathon to prepare for the new Indiana Jones movie.
  • The guest on the show is DJ Big Dress, also known as Idris Elba, who is a world-famous DJ and an actor with numerous awards and nominations.
  • Idris Elba talks about his experience racing cars for a documentary and breaking speed records on Penzans Beach in Wales.
  • The hosts discuss their own experiences driving fast, including reaching speeds of up to 160 miles per hour.

Idris Elba's Career

06:51 - 19:26

  • Idris Elba is using a U87 microphone, which is considered the Cadillac of microphones.
  • Idris Elba chose to do his own tech for the podcast instead of relying on someone else.
  • Idris Elba initially used an SM microphone but had to switch to a U87 due to buzzing issues.
  • Idris Elba's voice sounds amazing with the U87 microphone.
  • The host praises Idris Elba's performance in The Wire and mentions his impressive American accent.
  • Idris Elba explains that doing an authentic American accent was difficult at first, but living in New York and New Jersey helped him improve it.
  • Idris Elba acknowledges that English actors doing American accents have become more noticeable over time.
  • The host compliments a specific scene from The Wire featuring Idris Elba's character running a meeting like a business.
  • There is discussion about techniques for mastering the American accent, such as counting to ten and pronouncing vowels differently.
  • Alexa Fogel, one of the casting directors for The Wire, played a crucial role in getting Idris Elba cast on the show.
  • During an audition for the TV show The Wire, the actor was offered the role of Stringer Bell instead of Avon Barksdale.
  • After The Wire, the actor received many offers to play similar gangster-type characters in films targeted at African American audiences.
  • The actor also worked with producer Will Packer and got his first lead role in a film called The Gospel.
  • Despite being on a successful TV show, the actor did not immediately receive a flood of job offers.
  • The actor has been passionate about music since he was young and used to DJ with his uncle at African weddings and events.
  • His drama teacher recognized his talent and encouraged him to pursue acting seriously.
  • He enrolled in a college course focused on performing arts and got his first acting job at age 19.

Idris Elba's Projects

19:10 - 32:05

  • The guest played Lenny in the plays 'The Forner' and 'The Nerd'
  • The guest's Spanish teacher in high school was the mother of Larry Shoe, who wrote the plays
  • The guest's first professional job was a commercial about getting his bike stolen
  • He then got a TV show where he played a character younger than his actual age
  • The hosts discuss their forgetfulness and introduce the podcast Smartless
  • Smartless is sponsored by BetterHelp, an online therapy service
  • They also mention sponsorship from eight sleep and smart water
  • The speaker drinks Smartwater backstage to stay hydrated.
  • Smartwater is vapor distilled with a pure crisp taste and added electrolytes.
  • The speaker jokes about filling water balloons with Smartwater.
  • The speaker DJed for the royal wedding after being asked by Prince Harry.
  • The podcast host asks about the speaker's show on Apple TV Plus called Hi Jack.
  • The speaker shares a funny airplane story involving kissing sleeping passengers in first class.
  • They discuss sleeping on airplanes and using neck pillows.

Idris Elba's Career Continued

31:44 - 38:26

  • Spielberg's production company, Amblin', has produced incredible movies
  • Idris Elba moved to New York at the age of 27 and was struck by the food obsession
  • The variety of food in America is much greater than in England
  • Idris Elba worked on Luther while feeling a glass ceiling in his American career
  • Luther marked the beginning of the second half of Idris Elba's career
  • Idris had to do an English accent for Luther despite being mistaken as American by some crew members
  • The workload as a lead in a drama series is different from big budget films with lots of action scenes
  • Idris Elba is currently working on a film called The Heads of State where he plays the British Prime Minister

Working in the Film Industry

37:57 - 44:24

  • The actor prefers the fast-paced shooting style of TV shows.
  • Big budget films allow for more time to dig into scenes.
  • The actor shares a story about shooting a small scene on a big budget film.
  • The director enjoys working on small scale projects like music videos and short content.
  • The director directed a music video for Mumford & Sons with Jason Sudeikis and Ed Helms.
  • The host talks about his crush on Jason Bateman and embarrassing encounter with him at a party.
  • The host asks the actor about working on Prometheus and being a fan of the Alien franchise.
  • The actor discusses working with Ridley Scott and the massive scale of Prometheus sets.

Behind the Scenes

44:10 - 50:33

  • The engineer in the scene is based on a real-life engineer who is about eight feet tall.
  • The design of the engineer was partly based on the symmetry of the face.
  • Idris Elba and Sean have been in a film together called Zootopia, where Idris voiced the character Captain Bogo.
  • There are rumors that Idris will be in the new Star Wars movie, but he cannot confirm or deny it.
  • In England, there is a production with holograms that Idris would love to see.
  • Idris is an Abba fan and DJ weddings.
  • Mamma Mia is a movie based on ABBA songs, and there was a sequel called 'Here We Go Again.'
  • There were rumors that Idris would play James Bond, but it became controversial due to race.
  • No one knows who will play James Bond next.
  • Idris is an executive producer on hijack, which is available on Apple.

Idris Elba's Projects Continued

50:06 - 56:34

  • The podcast discusses a show called 'Hijacked' on Apple, in which the guest is an executive producer.
  • The guest plays a male flight attendant who gets involved in a hijacking while trying to fix his failing marriage.
  • The show is set in real time and consists of six episodes.
  • The guest has started a marketing agency called Sillyface with Mark Boyan to inject creativity and integrity into marketing.
  • They believe that brands should try different ways to reach new audiences but it needs to be done with storytelling and authenticity.
  • The guest's motivation comes from his upbringing, where his mother encouraged him to go after what he wants.

Personal Insights

56:08 - 1:02:24

  • 'Cause as an artist, I find myself taking advantage of opportunities all the time.
  • The speaker loves DJing and takes advantage of that opportunity.
  • The speaker prefers to say less and only speak when necessary.
  • The speaker has a nine-year-old, a 21-year-old, and a 30-year-old child.
  • The speaker's 30-year-old child is an actor.
  • Video game professions were not available for the speaker's older children.
  • Call of Duty made more money than all movie studios combined.

Closing Remarks

1:02:01 - 1:03:56

  • Jason called Cheez-its Colin cement.
  • Cheez-its are great.
  • Popcorn is not great for you.
  • Idris Elba is in a movie called 'Hi Jack'.