After Idris Elba’s unwanted exit from “The Wire,” he wasn’t necessarily struggling for work, but the jobs he landed weren’t what David Simon prophesied for him. A big issue was that much of the industry believed him to be American thanks to his ability to hide his British accent on “The Wire.”
“When they realized I was not [American], I suddenly stuck out like a sore thumb. I felt more scrutinized. I was enjoying success, but I don’t think I was being pushed or stretched as an actor. I don’t think I was getting roles that were like… remarkable,” Elba said in an interview with The Guardian. “I could see that there was a glass ceiling coming. I could sort of see the smudges on it.”
Elba may have been doubtful for some time that he’d someday earn A-lister status, but eventually, he did break through that glass ceiling. He’s enjoying over a decade of success as detective John Luther on the BBC’s “Luther,” which was expanded to include the 2023 film “Luther: The Fallen Sun.” In fact, he’s the first Black actor to helm a primetime BBC drama. Oh, and it can’t be forgotten that Elba was deemed PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2018.