Idris Elba has had a very busy year when it comes to movies. From starring in The Dark Tower, The Mountain Between Us and Thor: Ragnarok, not to mention getting a chance to become a kickboxer, downtime is something he’s had very little of. But he’s most proud of his role in the Jessica Chastain-led film Molly’s Game because he got to play something he knows a lot about: a father.
Directed by Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game tells the story of Molly Bloom, a woman who ran a coast-to-coast multimillion-dollar poker game involving Hollywood’s elite. In the film, Elba is attorney Charlie Jaffey, who represents Bloom after she is arrested by the FBI.
In an interview with The Root, Elba said that he was attracted to the role for two reasons: He got to play a father and he wanted to work with Sorkin.
“I wanted to be in one of his films. It was the ultimate experience, and Jessica is an incredible actress. The whole movie was attractive,” Elba said.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Aaron’s writing, both his TV work on shows like The West Wing, and then of course the incredible films he’s written. He is truly one of the most prolific and distinguished, if not the most distinguished, writer of our time. So I really leapt at the chance to work with him, and then to have this be his directorial debut and be a part of that process was a remarkable opportunity.
It was such a fascinating experience to work with Aaron—he has such a distinct voice and evolved point of view, and really gives you the space as an actor to find your voice in inhabiting the characters that he writes.
In the film, Jaffey’s relationship with his daughter is a struggle, and although it’s nothing like Elba’s real-life parenting experience, he appreciates that it sheds light on what some parents may go through. In real life, it’s Elba’s daughter who gives him advice on things like social media.
“She told me Snapchat is no good,” Elba said.
But who wouldn’t want to see Elba flex some muscles on Snapchat? He does a pretty good job on Instagram, and shortly before his filming of Molly’s Game, he let the world in on his kickboxing training.
Since 2017 was quite a busy year for Elba, he said he didn’t have too much time to prepare for the film, especially since he was fight-training. Unlike Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, reclaiming his time is something he rarely has time to do.
“I didn’t have time to prepare. The night after winning my kickboxing fight, I had to go right into the movie. It was the weirdest job I’ve ever done,” Elba said.
So what’s next on Elba’s list? Well, he definitely has a few names in mind when it comes to his wish list of people he’d like to work with soon.
“I’d love to work with Ava DuVernay, Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep. These are some of the greatest people in entertainment,” Elba stated.
Molly’s Game is currently playing nationwide.