By Fred Topel | Images property of Warner Bros Pictures
Idris Elba may be best known to audiences as Stringer Bell on HBO’s acclaimed series The Wire. That was a character arc he got to play over some 37 episodes of television. He feels he was able to do something equally great as Roque in the film The Losers.
Idris Elba One of The Losers
“It was just a wicked opportunity to play such an interesting arc in a film,” Elba said. “I was very blessed. We all subtly layered how do we love Roque, how do we not love Roque, how do we bond together as a team so that at the end, it’s like it works.”
Based on a comic book, The Losers also drew inspiration from the great ‘80s action movies. “The important thing is it’s a great movie that has a feel good factor that takes you back to some of the film’s that we’ve known from the 80s that encompassed action and charismatic characters like the Lethal Weapons and Die Hards. The stunts were larger than life. The characters were larger than life. But ultimately everyone had a good time. It’s a popcorn film and you enjoy it. So, in terms of marketing, I think we look at the kids. We look at so and so. It’s almost like a family movie. It’s like a game in a movie form and everyone can enjoy it.”
Roque is the rival teammate to Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), so they demonstrate the classic bickering buddy dynamic. “It’s all in the writing or the words. It is about the choices and the director helps you guide those choices into what the screenplay says. So what James [Vanderbilt] wants from this, you have choices as an actor to make and the director helps you guide those choices to what James wants. Jeffrey and I had a huge challenge to make our relationship believable, two men that have been together as, not Brokeback, but as friends and as comrades who’ll die for each other. So it’s all about the words.”
The comic book provided some information too, but Elba’s more of a script man. “I didn’t have too much information on The Losers. I’d read the script. There was an original version of the script which was about 4 years old. I read that. There were different directors attached to it. When I read it the first time, I wasn’t even aware it was a graphic novel. Then when [director] Sylvain [White] and [producer] Joel [Silver] approached me on it, I did some homework and I started to do my research. It was very much surface research though. I read some of the novels and on the internet. I didn’t really check it out too much because the script was so full of them. It had lots of information. It was a good read. I just got into it that way.”