HomeNewsLuther: Idris Elba’s hottest roles, ranked

Luther: Idris Elba’s hottest roles, ranked

While we wait for him to wreck the dancefloor in the next season of 'Turn up Charlie', here’s a ranking of 19 of Idris Elba’s best roles ever.

Luther: Idris Elba’s hottest roles, ranked

Be still our beating hearts. This summer not one but two opportunities await to see our guy Idris Elba on TV. Luther returns to BBC America on June 2nd, and Turn Up Charlie is still available to bingewatch over on Netflix.

Making our bingewatching schedules about a billion times sexier, Idris Elba created and stars in the Netflix comedy Turn up Charlie as a struggling DJ and eternal bachelor. The streaming giant has ordered eight more episodes of the show in which Elba’s character is given a final chance at success as he becomes the manny to his best friend’s problem child daughter.

We have a checklist of things we’ve always wanted to see Elba do on screen, and Turn up Charlie takes care of a whole batch of ’em. As you may already be aware, Elba started his career as a DJ in various East London clubs and still dabbles behind the ones & twos from time to time, so we’re especially stoked to see him showcase his skills.

While we wait for the next season of Turn up Charlie, here’s a ranking of 19 of Elba’s best roles ever.

19. Detective Winn: Prom Night (2008)

The gag reel of this weak horror remake is infinitely better than the movie itself. (Watch below!) Elba didn’t exactly have a lot to work with in the movie but hey, he’s playing a detective and we’re still magnetized to him regardless.

18. Janek: Prometheus (2012)

Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel didn’t please everyone but it at least gave us one scene in which Elba was able to face off against Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road). Watching the two spar is nothing short of wonderful.

17. Stone: 28 Weeks Later (2007)

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s follow up to Danny Boyle’s groundbreaking zombie movie didn’t use Elba’s talents to their full capabilities, but as the ill-fated General Stone he was nonetheless bringing some serious intensity.

16. Shere Khan: The Jungle Book (2016)

Elba as the most iconic villainous tiger in cinema history? Hell yeah! His role in Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of the animated classic gives us life!

15. Roland: The Dark Tower (2017)

Sure, the movie was a little underwhelming, but Elba’s portrayal of the Gunslinger was not.

14. Vaughan Rice: Ultraviolet (1998)

This cult British vampire show saw Elba portray the savage leader of a vamp-busting team, thus proving that even vampire slaying can be both bureaucratic and badass.

13. Derek: Obsessed (2009)

Elba and Beyoncé (Austin Powers in Goldmember) playing a tormented married couple! What’s not to love about that? Except that Elba’s character inexplicable strays from Queen Bey for some other woman. Or does he? Either way, he’s a joy to watch.

12. Krall: Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Intense and creepy as hell, Elba totally brought it as the Starfleet insubordinate turned villain.

11. Colin: No Good Deed (2014)

Elba was downright terrifying as a charismatic killer sweet-talking his way into the home of a strong, defiant mom played by Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures).

10. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Feat. Idris Elba: “Dance Off” (2016)

It’s not a movie but that doesn’t make it any less genius. Elba in a fur coat dropping some hot-ass dance moves is what the moving image was invented for, ladies and gentlemen.

9. Nelson Mandela: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)

Idris Elba does an incredible job of capturing Mandela’s spirit at various milestone’s in his monumental life.

8. Charlie Jaffey: Molly’s Game (2017)

Opposite the always magnificent Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) in Aaron Sorkin’s true crime film, Elba is slick with a continually fast-paced script.

7. DCI John Luther: Luther (2010 – 2018)

Quirky, legendary, and unique – Elba was a force of nature in this British crime drama.

6. Tango: American Gangster (2007)

Elba starred alongside such Hollywood heavyweights as Denzel Washington (The Book of Eli), Russell Crowe (Gladiator), and Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) in Ridley Scott’s all-American true crime drama as an insolent chump on the wrong side of a gun.

5. Chief Bogo: Zootopia (2016)

Proving the actor has one of the most distinguished and discernable voices in the industry, Elba’s performance as the stern buffalo chief of the Zootopia Police Department is a standout delight in Disney’s powerful animated feature.

4. Charles Miner: The Office (2009)

Watching Elba maintain a straight face opposite the comedic finesse of the eternally hilarious Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) has a delicious poetry to it during his brief time as the new (smokin’ hot) boss of Dunder Mifflin.

3. Heimdall: Thor (and other MCU movies) (2011 – )

It isn’t just that Elba looks badass in his regal refinery (although hot damn, son!) – it’s also that he emanates pure power at every level and is utterly, irresistibly majestic. Even when he’s sharing a scene with the equally enthralling Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers).

2. Stacker Pentecost: Pacific Rim (2013)

Guillermo del Toro’s kaiju vs. robots epic blockbuster gifted us with scenes of Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Elba in various states of very heroic undress. But it also proved Elba is one helluva hero and a fierce speech deliverer.  

1. Russell “Stringer” Bell: The Wire (2002 – 2004)

Essentially the role that made the world obsess for Elba, as Stringer the actor was at his most captivating and charismatic. We’re still not ready to talk about his final scenes.

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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer who occasionally moonlights as a hapless punk musician. She’s written about pop culture for websites like Bustle, i-D, and The Mary Sue, and is the co-creator of Clarissa Explains F*ck All. She likes watching horror movies with her cat and eating too much sugar.

amy@filmdaily.co