In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly on Idris Elba’s home turf in London, the 45-year-old actor — who has three movies coming out before the end of this year (The Mountain Between Us, Thor: Ragnarok, and Molly’s Game) – initially tried to diplomatically hem and haw his way out of the question.
Who is the best actor you’ve ever worked with?
After a long pause, Elba rubbed the salt-and-pepper stubble on his face and finally sighed, “F—, that’s a really hard one.”
It’s designed to be.
“I don’t know what to say, man. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I think it’s a cross between Naomie Harris [with whom he costarred in 2013’s Madela: Long Walk to Freedom] and Kate Winslet [his leading lady in the high-altitude adventure-romance, The Mountain Between Us, which is in theaters now]. Both of them are like pure deliverance in every single take.”
On Winslet, Elba had this to say: “She really comes prepared. When she shows up she’s incredibly well-researched to the point where you’re like, ‘F—, really?!’ She’s like, ‘Did you know that ice doesn’t actually turn that color when it hits this type of water? She’s that rehearsed.” Elba continued, “I’m more instinctual. When you’re filming on a mountain at 10,000 feet and it’s minus-38 degrees, I could care less what color the ice is. It was a real lesson in preparation.”
When Elba finished waxing rhapsodic about Winslet, we moved on the to the next question. But he couldn’t let this one go. “Oh, can I say a third? Ruth Wilson [his costar on the BBC America cop procedural Luther]. She’s definitely on that list. She’s a beast!”
And, if you’re reading this, Jessica Chastain [Elba’s costar in the upcoming Oscar contender, Molly’s Game], fear not. About a half an hour later, Elba returned to the question yet again, saying, “Oh, I have one more. You have to include Jessica. Her performance in both this movie and The Help are bonkers.”