On Sunday (September 6), the world will come together in unison for a celebration -- not because it's the weekend and weekends are awesome, but because it's the 43rd anniversary of the birth of actor Idris Elba. If you haven't gotten to know Idris yet, you really should. Not only does the man bring power and depth and absurd attractiveness to every role -- from John Luther to Stringer Bell to his genre work, in stuff like "Thor" and "Prometheus" -- but he's also suave AF, super smart, and capable of breaking speed records just for the hell of it.
However, the reason the actor made headlines this week wasn't exactly the stuff that celebrity dreams are made of. Earlier this week, next James Bond hopeful Idris became a worldwide Twitter trend when Bond author Anthony Horowitz said he was "too street" to play the role, which sparked outrage for a whole buttload of reasons. Largely because Idris is obviously not too anything to play Bond -- have you seen the man in a tux?! -- but also, unfortunately, because Horowitz’s comments, whether they were intended to or not, were interpreted as racist.
But hey, screw all that for now -- it's his birthday. For a present, here are all of the times than man made me almost die (another day?) just by being Idris:
When he handled a crappy situation with grace and class.
Whether or not Horowitz was being racist when he said Idris was "street" -- and whether or not his apology addressed the root of the issue -- is not for me to decide, but Idris' humorous and classy response is definitely something to celebrate. "Always Keep Smiling!! It takes no energy and never hurts! Learned that from the Street!! ?
#septemberstillloveyou," he wrote.
When he brought Shakespeare to Baltimore in "The Wire."
Stringer Bell was a fan-favorite on "The Wire" for about a zillion reasons. The street criminal (I hate to use the word street, but it applies here) in a suit was always a blast to watch for his smooth talking, his Macbeth-like ambition, and his calculated ruthlessness, and never did all of those things come together than that time Avon Barksdale insulted him, leading to Stringer admitting to D'Angelo's murder.
When he died with dignity.
Oh, Stringer. You weren't ruthless enough for the streets, or savvy enough to make it as a legitimate businessman. We loved you, but you had to go for "The Wire" to stay real -- but oh, what a scene in which to go down! "Well, get on with it, motherf..."
When he brought new meaning to the term "silver fox."
That. Beard. Though.
When he did GQ and rendered every other GQ cover irrelevant.
Yup, even yours, Fassbender. What can I say? The man knows how to wear a suit...
When he showed up in "Thor," and made us say "Chris WHO?"
He may not have loved coming back for "Thor 2," but Marvel fans undoubtedly benefitted from the sexy presence of the guardian sentry of Asgard. You shall not pass, b--ches!
When he brought Nelson Mandela's story to a new generation of moviegoers.
... And if course, even the critics who didn't love the film geeked out over his towering, scene-stealing performance.
When he made this "The Wire" fan's dreams come true.
Look at this excited "Wire" fan! How nice of Idris to take time out for the kids.
When he kept it real on "The Office."
Sure, Charles Miner wasn't the most popular character, but hey -- he knew the effect he had on women.
When he gave Bill Pullman's speech a run for its money in "Pacific Rim."
I'd fight the Kaijus for you, Idris. Sorry you didn't make it.
When he made tortured cop dramas fun again in "Luther."
Elba won a Golden Globe for his role as DCI John Luther, and with good reason. "Angry man plays troubled cop who is good at his job but not necessarily his personal life" could be seen as a last remnant from TV's "difficult men" era, but Elba infused Luther with such humanity -- and the show was so willing to break from the formula -- that it was never a problem. Here's to the upcoming special!
When he won that Golden Globe and we were treated to images of him in a TUX.
Shine on, you crazy diamond.
When he broke a nearly 100-year-old land speed record.
Sure, Idris, why not go 180.361 mph in a Bentley? Because you can, right?
When he was the only dude besides Jay to look good next to Bey.
Just for a movie. We can be cool with it for a movie, OK?
When... sorry, what was I saying?
Cause of death? TOO MUCH CHARM from Idris' wink-face.