Idris Elba on 28 Weeks Later
Source: Ryan Rotten
British thespian Idris Elba may be waist-deep in blood and up to his neck in religious phenomena in The Reaping (opening April 5th from Warner Bros./Dark Castle), however, things have gone full-tilt apocalyptic for him in Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's 28 Weeks Later. "In ['Weeks'] I don't see anything like what I see in 'The Reaping' at all, my character [Stone] is confined in a bunker - I play a General. He stays there and watches everything from bunkers, so I don't get to see any zombie work, I was a bit mad about that. I stand by the red telephone like, 'Kill 'em all!'" he laughs during a press tour for "Reaping."
Elba adds that he skirted the whole audition process thanks to, "Danny Boyle and Juan Carlos - they made the decision about bringing me in. It was a good part and a very interesting film. I mean, this particular [sub-]genre has been done before but these guys did it really, really well. The difference between ['Weeks'] and ['Days'] is...there isn't much difference, it's just continuing on a really smooth transition from one film to another."
With The Reaping, 28 Weeks Later and the UK vampire television series "Ultraviolet" on his resume now, one could say he's taken an attraction to horror. Alas, that's not the case at all. "My imagination is too vivid, I take it with me. It stays with me a few days in my apartment, freaking me out."
There's a lot more on The Reaping coming your way. Also, look for ComingSoon.net's all-horror site, ShockTillYouDrop.com, in the next few weeks!
The following article appeared in the Spring 2005 issue of Savoy Magazine
The following article appeared in the April 2005 issue of Suede Magazine
The following article appeared in the March 25, 2005 issue of Entertainment Weekly
'Sometimes in April' Recounts Horrific Spring
By Kate O'Hare
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) In about 100 days in the spring of 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed, as extremists among the ruling Hutu majority, unwilling to share power, carried out a brutal genocide against the Tutsi minority.
This came after decades of colonial rule by first Germany and then Belgium, which instituted a rigid system that gave ruling powers to the supposedly racially superior Tutsis.
But in 1959, when Belgium relinquished power, the Hutus took over, bringing generations of anti-Tutsi resentment. When Tutsis and moderate Hutus tried to regain power in 1990, a cycle of war and massacre continued until the United Nations negotiated a power-sharing agreement that ended in slaughter.
On Saturday, March 19, HBO premieres "Sometimes in April," which looks at the Rwandan genocide -- and the seeming impotence of the United States, the United Nations and Europe -- from the point of view of one family.
Idris Elba ("The Wire"), the London-born son of immigrants from Ghana and Sierra Leone, plays Augustin, a Hutu soldier who tries to save his Tutsi wife and children. Ten years later, trying to start a new life, he visits the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, where his brother Honore (Oris Erhuero) awaits trial for the "bloodless" role he and other journalists played in the genocide.
Through his talks with Honore, Augustin begins to learn the fate of his family.
Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck ("Lumumba") is writer, director and executive producer for "Sometimes in April," which also features Debra Winger as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Prudence Bushnell.
Unlike the acclaimed feature film "Hotel Rwanda," which covers the same period but was shot in South Africa, much of "Sometimes in April" filmed in Rwanda, in many locations where murder took place.
"What I didn't want," Elba says, "was for us to come in and say, 'Nyah, nyah, we're here to see what you lot have been doing,' and make a mockery of their history. The last thing they need after 10 years is someone coming in, judging something people don't understand.
"I did my best just letting myself be taken over by their culture and allow people to school me. It wasn't a culture shock, because I had been brought up in a very African household, but it was definitely interesting to see Africa."
While the West seemed unable or unwilling to intervene in Rwanda, Peck believes that this isn't just a sad tale from a distant land. "It's about our own family," he says. "You could be in a situation like this. We tend to put Africa and those faraway countries -- that's something tribalistic, a dark continent. It's about us. If we can live in our society here and allow that this can happen over there, it can happen over here.
"It will take other forms, but the same violence, the same absence of humanity, we are carrying it inside of us. This is our problem of all of us."
The production team and cast included people from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya and Haiti. There were also about 150 Rwandan actors, extras, technicians and translators. Because of this, and because they were shooting on actual locations, psychologists were on hand to help those who might be overcome with emotion remembering what had happened.
"I had a driver and an assistant by the name of Alexis," Elba says. "He's a young man, 24 years old, which puts him as a young teenage boy in '94. His story was really compelling to me, because he survived by lying underneath his entire family after watching them being murdered. What struck me was that he would tell the story -- and this is something I think is indicative of the Rwandan people -- he would tell me without emotion.
"What struck me most was that his heart was so big. He's 24 years old. For me, we imagine we'd be depressed. How do we live? How do you live with memories like that? But he continued. His life continues."
Sometimes the experiences became personal even for Elba. In one scene, he goes into a school where one of Augustin's children died. As the father of a 3-year-old daughter, Elba was overcome.
"When we shot that," he recalls, "I was a wreck. We were all wrecks. The camera was shaking. We were in tears. That was the sort of emotion that was involved."
Asked if he felt like an interloper in Rwandans' private grief, Elba says, "Of course, but even that private grief they have buried, that they have shut down. We were there, essentially taking the nails off the coffin and having a good old look inside."
Partway through the production, Elba and the filmmakers spoke to local press.
"These journalists tore us apart," he says. "We only had two actresses who were actually Rwandan. The rest, one was South African, one was English. The guy who played my brother was English. So they're saying, 'Can you tell me, have you ever lived through a genocide? What makes you think you have the right to make this movie?'
"Raoul could answer some of those questions because of his Haitian background and the problems that were there. For us, as actors, we were stuck for words. My tongue swelled up in my mouth.
"I said, 'Look, I'm here to tell this story because no one has told this story before. We want to tell this story. We're not doing it for us. We're not doing it to line our pockets. No one's getting rich off this story, but this is a story that we want to hear.'"
Additional information about Idris Elba
Idris Elba@Internet Movie Database
Idris Elba Interview@BlackFilm.com
Idris Elba: Man on a mission
Interview with Idris Elba, a new Hollywood star with a strong fan following