Idris Elba (‘Luther’) interview

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Idris Elba (The Wire) reprises his role as DCI John Luther, the near-genius murder detective, in a new four-part series of Luther, beginning next week on BBC One.

> Buy the Series 1 DVD on Amazon.

> Order the Series 2 DVD on Amazon.

DCI John Luther is a dedicated copper, dazzling, possessed and sometimes dangerous. But Luther has paid a heavy price for his dedication; in series one his wife Zoe was brutally murdered by Luther’s old colleague and former best friend Ian Reed. Luther is struggling to accept the loss of his wife and to cope with an overriding sense that it was his own obsessive dedication to his work and his immersion in the dark and dreary world of crime that caused her death.

Watch the trailer…

Series 2 begins at 9pm on Tuesday 14th June on BBC One.

How has Luther changed since the conclusion of Series 1?

“At the end of Series 1, his life was almost over practically; seeing all that trauma, losing his wife, his best friend. In Series 2, what would be obvious would be to pick it up where we left off, but we didn’t want to do that. We’ve moved things slightly further one, Luther’s moved on with his life a bit. I think what you’re seeing is a man that isn’t quite as angry and scary as he was. Naturally, anyone who goes through something like that is going to suffer some changes.

“What happens is a new strand of Luther’s crazy world starts to emerge. What we’ve also done is less episodes this time; we’ve done two major stories that are really good and very Luther-like. We wanted to keep the evolution of the character, we wanted to grow with him a bit.”

So there’s two two-parters this year; are they fairly stand-alone or is there an arc over the whole four episodes?

“There’s an arc to the whole four, yeah. We spread two stories over four episodes and we spread an arc with Luther and Alice over that as well.”

Is it possible for new viewers to watch Series 2 without having seen Series 1 last year?

“Yeah, by design we didn’t want to alienate people who hadn’t seen the other stuff, so you do get this reintroduction to who Luther is, so audiences that don’t know him can still get pulled into it. The drama’s still the same, in terms of the detail. Neil Cross, and his crazy mind that writes these stories is still very much the same, if not better.”

When you completed Series 1, did you see yourself coming back for a second run?

“Good question, we could have easily finished it at Series 1. It’s a story that finishes right there and it’s a heartbreaking story, but we felt that didn’t do it justice. I don’t know if Series 2 is it either, I think we’ll see more of Luther. Series 2 will not finish in a way that you expect. You might say to yourself at the end of Series 2, there’s a couple of questions I’ve got which haven’t been answered yet. So it might well continue.”

Would you be up for a third series?

“I would, I wouldn’t mind seeing a larger version of Luther, maybe a film perhaps. Or take over television for a week, boxset-style Luther. You know, event television.”

So perhaps a five-parter over every night for a week?

“Yeah, exactly, something like that would be dope.

You’ve got a few new cast members this year, what were they like to work with?

“Everyone’s really excited to be working on Luther and really up for the go of it. We’ve got some really good actors involved. This time we had one director over the four episodes, which made it feel like more of a film. With the new actors, it seemed more cohesive.”

If Luther does return, when do you think that’s likely to be?

“I don’t know, we’ll have to see what the appetite is like for it at the end of this series. If it’s a good, healthy appetite then we’ll figure out how we’re going to do some more.”

Did you get to perform any stunts this series and do you enjoy that side of filming?

“I did a lot of driving sequences, all the really crazy driving sequences this year. I love doing that stuff; it’s something I do really look forward to. There’s an element of danger which you just can’t buy. You get given a blue light, stick it on your car and drive around the streets of London – and, by the way, the police don’t stop you! I do love doing that!”

Thor came out in cinemas in April and has done really well; are you pleased with the film’s success?

“Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s done hugely well. I don’t even know what the tally is at the moment, but I know it’s something astronomical. I think Marvel are really excited by it.”

Would you like to be involved in a sequel if that happens?

“Um, I don’t know, it really would depend on where they want to take the Heimdall character. You know, it’s called Thor and I’m sure the second one won’t be about Asgard as much it’ll be about Thor.”

What else have you got coming up?

“My next film that’s coming is a film called Ghost Rider, with Nic Cage, it’s his second instalment of that. I’m current making Prometheus with Ridley Scott which is going to come out some time next year, that should be exciting.”

That’s the movie which was initially an Alien prequel?

“Yeah, that’s Prometheus. I’m playing a captain, I can’t say much more than that, but his name’s Captain Janek.”

What’s Ridley Scott like to work with?

“Loving it, man. It’s the second time working with him. He’s a good guy, very smart, I’m having a lot of fun working with him.”

What’s it been like working with the special effects?

“There’s a fair amount of special effects in this film, yeah. But, with Ridley, he actually prefers to do it for real. Real locations, real sets, which is really a treat for us actors.”

So there are some fairly grand sets, I imagine?

“Yes. Yes, yes, yes – definitely. I can safely say that without getting sued!”

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