It's a pretty sweet time to be Idris Elba right now. Season 4 of Luther just went out on BBC America, his Netflix original movie Beasts of No Nation is on the receiving end of awards buzz, and in the coming year he'll star in both Star Trek: Beyond and The Jungle Book. Oh, and he just toured Europe with Madonna as part of his DJ side gig.
As if all that wasn't enough, there's been some buzz about a potential role in the third season of True Detective. It started when The Huffington Post spoke with Elba about the nature of working with Beasts director Cary Fukunaga, and the following words left Elba's mouth in the following order:
Cary Fukunaga is a tour de force. He gave me a lot of sort of license to build my character, and he’s one of the best directors in the world and a future star. He deserves an Oscar, no doubt. And I’d love to work with him again. We built a special bond over making this film and I hope we continue to make films for the rest of our lives.
As any true True Detective fan is well aware, Fukunaga is the director who helmed the entire of season one, winning himself massive critical acclaim, before parting ways with the series and going on to make his Netflix film with Elba. When asked about a potential future collaboration, Elba went into specifics:
“True Detective” Season 3 … I like the way you’re thinking!
You can check out the full Huff Post interview right here.
Why it should happen...
Let's be honest, the prospect of seeing Idris back on the small-screen in HBO's acclaimed (or at least, once-acclaimed) mystery series is pretty mouth-watering. Elba is an actor of extreme gravitas, the kind it's almost impossible to take your eye off when on screen. His casting would be guaranteed to go down a storm.
It's true that some of his biggest roles to date (such as Prometheus, in which he's criminally underused) haven't stretched Elba, but if you've seen Luther, or Beasts of No Nation, you know what he's capable of.
As John Luther in particular, the maverick cop with demons and a habit of going way beyond the boundaries of the law to apprehend London's most twisted criminals, he's demonstrated an exceptional capacity for duality. The ability to find both dark and light in his hero, often at the same time, would work superbly well in a series like True Detective - and if there's any actor capable of making bad dialogue work, it's surely this man.
...and why, perhaps, it shouldn't
Don't get me wrong, if HBO announced tomorrow that True Detective season 3 was coming in October and Idris Elba was leading the cast, I'd dance all the way home from work tonight... in the snow.
But if you pause and take a moment to put aside fantasy fancasting, would playing a tortured detective really be particularly satisfying to Elba having spent four seasons doing exactly that with Luther (a role to which he's still committed, with a movie still on the cards at some point in the future)? Actors thrive on variety and the opportunity to stretch themselves.
And a back to basics approach is required for the third season of Nic Pizzolatto's show, which perhaps should be reflected in the casting. Bringing in huge names has been more hit than miss, but in season 2 it felt like a distraction from the story (or lack thereof). A really solid mystery needs to be the basis for season 3, and if there are no A-listers in the cast then so be it.
Luther season 4 was fantastic, by the way - all two episodes of it. Sure, it may be cheeky to call 120 minutes of drama a "season", but Idris is a busy man and better that than nothing at all. Check it out if you have time (you don't need to have seen the first three seasons, although frankly you really should).
A sickeningly talented fandom
Of all the fandoms out there, few are more creativity than the True Detective brigade. Check out this brilliant fanmade poster art for season one, courtesy of True Detective Rumours...
That's just one example from the endless well of gorgeous pieces of fan art out there. It feels appropriate that such a visual series inspires that kind of creativity in its audience. If you've seen any similarly great posters or artworks inspired by either of the seasons, share them in the comments.
Are you equally stoked for the return of this most love/hate of TV shows, and would Idris Elba be a smart casting move for season 3?