You may not be familiar with the name Idris Elba, but you’ve almost certainly seen his work. Dude appeared in both The Office and The Wire— one of the greatest TV comedies of all time and one of the greatest TV dramas of all time– before making a slow progression into the world of film. Last year, he starred in the trashy Obsessed and the more-fun-than-anyone-expected The Losers, and now he’s set to take on a starring role in what might be a big-ass franchise: Elba will portray Detective Alex Cross, from James Patterson’s novels, in Cross for director David Twohy. We have more details below, my gentle Examiner readers…
Because very few people were wise enough to watch The Wire, there’s a far better chance that you’re familiar with Idris Elba from his work on NBC’s The Office— where he played a Dunder Mifflin corporate-type sent in to give Michael Scott his walking papers in the show’s fifth season– or from the trashy melodrama Obsessed, where Ali Larter wrestled Beyonce in the greatest catfight of all-time. Now people are going to know the actor for a different reason: he’s taking on the role that Morgan Freeman originated in Kiss The Girls and Along Came a Spider, that of Detective Alex Cross.
The character originates from a series of novels written by James Patterson, the sort of mysteries that everyone buys in airport gift shops, reads once, and then promptly forgets about. We’ve read a few of ’em here at Comedy Examiner HQ, and while they’re all basically rip-offs of Silence of The Lambs (though that’s not to say that the two films based on the novels weren’t good for a slow Sunday afternoon viewing), they’ve sold about a bajillion copies. So, the news that Elba will be taking on the role Freeman originated in the upcoming Cross will be of interest to many.
There’s no word on why Morgan Freeman isn’t returning to the role, but one imagines that Paramount– the studio behind the film– is simply looking to get some new blood into the Cross role. Furthermore, it’s about damn time that someone gave Elba a meaty role, and this is a great start. Not only that, but they’ve paired him up with an awesome writer/director.
David Twohy is scripting and directing, and that dude has made some pretty solid movies. We can all pretend that The Chronicles of Riddick never happened, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you’re ignoring Pitch Black or Below, the two films that put Twohy’s name on the map in Hollywood (it’s in very fine print, but it’s there). Twohy is currently hard at work on a script for Cross, but at the moment it’s unclear how this project will effect the alleged work being done on the next Riddick movie, which Vin Diesel has been claiming is “this close” to getting made for the past year. Methinks that Cross will beat a new Riddick film to theaters, no questions asked.
Elba will also be appearing in next summer’s Thor, so keep your eyes peeled for the former Stringer Bell as he wanders around Asgard when that film arrives. You can stay tuned for more on this project as it becomes available, my precious snowflakes. Just in case you need a reminder of who Idris Elba is, here’s a deleted scene featuring the actor from the fifth season of The Office: