Idris Elba turns 44 this week and between the birthday cake and the sporadic bursts of confetti at the Quirk Book offices, we’re dreaming up ways to get our silver screen favorite into more literary adaptations. (The Dark Tower didn’t do it for us. Our dreams are bigger.) While we scheme up ways to get Idris Elba’s agent to call us back, here are a few literary adaptations that we would love to see him in.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
A film adaptation of The Hate U Give is already in the works, starring Amandla Stenberg as Starr and featuring Insecure’s Issa Rae. Before casting makes any more exciting announcements, let’s consider Idris Elba in the role of Starr’s father Big Mav. The patriarch of the novel, Big Mav is a former gang member turned businessman. His store, like his presence, is a staple in Jackson, Mississippi’s Georgetown neighborhood. But he’s chosen to send his children to school in the next town over – away from the gangs and violence, but also away from other black students. The complicated decisions Big Mav makes over the course of this novel are filled with nuance – perfect for an actor like Idris Elba.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
One of our favorite books of 2016 was Brit Bennett’s The Mothers and with the recently announced movie (produced by Kerry Washington!) we’re already lobbying for Idris Elba to secure a role in this sweeping novel. We’d love to see him as the book’s pastor – a central figure for protagonist Nadia, whose adolescence is built around church. The mothers the title refers to are the novel’s narrators – a chorus of older black women who flit around the Oceanside, California church. They’re the keepers of gossip, true. But they’re also the keepers of those they love most – even when they’ve grown up and move away. The pastor is sure to be a cornerstone of the visual vocabulary of the movie and even if he doesn’t have the largest speaking part, the role requires an actor who can command the room without saying a single word. Idris Elba has that presence. Plus, we’d love to see him give a fiery sermon.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
With Moonlight director Barry Jenkins set to write and direct the television adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, we’re curious to know who Jenkins will chose to play Caesar. Our vote is, of course, for Idris Elba. (Sensing a theme? Please call us back, Idris Elba’s agent. We have a lot of ideas.) While The Underground Railroad is Cora’s story, it’s Caesar who informs her of the Railroad’s existence and hatches a plan to escape their master together. He’s a slave who was raised free in Virginia, taught to read and write and assured that he’d be granted free papers when his masters died. Instead, he’s sold to a plantation owner in Georgia, where he meets Cora. He sets her story in motion and we can’t think of a better actor for the role.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
If Hollywood ever decides to adapt Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, we want Idris Elba to play the role of neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy. He was born to play a (slightly unlikable) leading man and this Pride and Prejudice update is absolutely perfect for him. We’re already picturing him on location in Cincinnati, prepping for a running scene. Or his introduction at the overly competitive game night. Or – You know what, we’ll just let you read the book and let your imagination run wild.