By Erin Strecker
Updated October 17, 2013 at 03:38 PM EDT
  • TV Show

If you’ve seen The Wire, you likely can’t stop re-watching. But if, like Idris Elba, you were actually on The Wire? Then maybe you aren’t actually all that interested in repeat viewings — or watching at all. “I’ve seen a full episode at screenings but never at home,” Elba told Playboy. “I’ve never watched an entire season. I’ve not seen any episode of season 2, most of season 3, and none of seasons 4 and 5. I’m supercritical of my own work. As an actor, if you’re being told how wonderful you are, what do you need to strive for? I don’t know if I’m good just because some critic says I am in the press.”

Of course, the magazine notes that he then smiled and added, “The Golden Globe award told me that, thanks. And the two Emmy nominations. Just the small things.”

Elsewhere in Playboy‘s “20 Questions” feature, Elba discussed his upcoming role as Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. “This is one of the most courageous and selfless men you’re ever going to meet,” he explained. “If I said to you, ‘Listen, there’s a whole generation of people who are suffering, and if you give up 27 years of your life and spend that time in prison, you could help them,’ the likelihood is you’d say, ‘No, I’m all right. I’m kind of comfortable here.’ What I found out from him is, he was that guy.”

But — surprisingly for some fans — Elba isn’t just an award-winning actor; he’s also a rapper. When the Playboy interviewer read him some of the lyrics from his track, “Sex in Your Dreams” (including “show you parts of your p***y that you ain’t discovered”), Elba shared, “When it’s read back to me like that, I’m mortified that such trife could come out of my mind. [Laughs] Let me tell you, some fans hate it, some love it, some can’t stand the idea that I’ve got the audacity to rap. But under the guise of being a rapper, I can say what the f*** I want, and until some journalist reads it back to me, I’m getting away scot-free.”

Episode Recaps

The Wire

  • TV Show
  • In Season