What Did Idris Elba Learn About Acting While Directing ‘Yardie’?

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“I’ve made that part of my journey as an actor to collaborate with my directors and make them feel very secure in their choice to have me play the role and give them 120 percent.” – Idris Elba

Since even before Charlie Chaplin started directing his shorts in 1914, actors have gone behind the camera as directors with some, like Clint Eastwood and Ron Howard, receiving great acclaim for their directing work — and many remark that working as a director helped them understand their roles as actors better.

One of the stars to most recently try his hand at directing is Idris Elba, who directed the 2018 crime drama Yardie. Elba spoke to Entertainment Weekly about what he learned about acting from directing the film:

“I’ve made that part of my journey as an actor to collaborate with my directors and make them feel very secure in their choice to have me play the role and give them 120 percent. But after directing, I realized how important that relationship is that you have to have with your director. A willing actor makes your life so much easier, even if there are ideas that the actor doesn’t really understand or celebrate or agree with, if he’s willing to try it, it makes life easier. I’ve always been that way, but I’m much more sensitive to it now that I’ve been on the other side of it. I was very lucky, the majority of my actors were quite young and they were just absolutely ready to go for it. And it just made my life easier and gave me more choices in the editing process. And definitely now as I go into productions as an actor, I’m always conscious that I’m giving my director the best he’s ever going to need.”

More: Why Idris Elba Believes His “best performance is yet to come”

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