KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday June 29, 2017 – Acclaimed British actor Idris Elba is perhaps best known for playing Nelson Mandela in ‘Long Walk To Freedom’, but the Golden Globe winner has stepped behind the camera for his latest project, making his directorial debut with hard-hitting new film Yardie back where it all began in Jamaica.
The film is based on Victor Headley’s 1992 novel, which chronicles the misadventures of a Jamaican youth who arrives in London in the early 1980s with a ton of ambition and a kilo of cocaine.
The plot follows his quest to make his mark on the London drugs market, with filming being split between Jamaica and London over seven weeks.
Elba, who was spotted filming at an outdoor market in Kingston earlier this week, has stressed that the film will not glorify crime in any way and will essentially be a morality tale.
He has cast Aml Ameen — a British actor who has worked on both sides of the Atlantic in films such as The Maze Runner and Kidulthood — in the lead role of D, the small-time dealer who slips into London on a fake passport.
As well as directing the film, 44-year-old Elba will play Piper, a Rastafarian who eschews violence.
Elba, who has been tipped to make history as the first black James Bond, got more than he bargained for when he put out a casting call for Afro-Caribbean extras for the film in the London borough of Hackney last month.
The audition drew such a massive response that police had to be called to shut it down after just two hours.
Meanwhile, the actor’s latest role will see him play surgeon Ben Payne in The Mountain Between Us alongside Academy award-winning actress Kate Winslet (Titanic).
The film, scheduled for release later this year, follows the interaction between the surgeon and journalist Ashley Knox (Winslet) as the two survive a plane crash high in a remote, snow covered mountain range. Stranded in the icy wilderness, the injured strangers must put their lives in each other’s hands.