You might say that Idris Elba currently has the wind at his back, in terms of career fortunes within the filmmaking industry. But, the truth is, he is an exceptional talent, who works very hard to improve and excel. Anyone that has been watching his onscreen output over the years – from his early guest spots in UK drama The Bill, to his performance as Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – has seen a young actor gradually honing his skills and achieving his potential. This development now continues, with confirmation that Elba will be making his directorial debut with the drama, Yardie.
The project was recently mentioned by the UK CEO of Studiocanal, Danny Perkins, in conversation with Screen Daily. It is a film adaptation of the 1992 debut novel of author Victor Headley, which weaves a tale of organized crime and drug trafficking in 1980s London.
“D, a courier carrying cocaine from Jamaica to London, decides to go it alone and disappears into the mean streets of Hackney carrying a kilo of white powder that his erstwhile friends are anxious to recover. But D’s treachery will never be forgotten – or forgiven.”
As a Londoner, I am greatly heartened to see that Idris Elba – who hails from Hackney himself – is choosing to return to his hometown for his directorial debut. Having reached the heady professional heights of Star Trek Beyond, the Thor franchise, and the highly anticipated adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower – currently in production – it would be presumably be all too easy for him to take the helm of something a little more ‘Hollywood.’ But Elba has long been a vocal advocate for finding talent in all communities, including the less-privileged, and it looks like Yardie will be his chance to really put his money where his mouth is, as it were.
Yardie is evidently in the very early stages of pre-production, and so there have been no casting announcements made, as yet. But, with the connection that Idris Elba has to this material, and his clearly stated personal politics regarding equality of opportunity in the filmmaking industry, we will hopefully see a good number of new faces filling prominent roles. Whether the director himself will also appear, remains to be seen.