Thursday, September 29, 2022

Idris Elba as Never Seen Before in ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’

Idris Elba stars as The Djinn and Tilda Swinton as Alithea Binnie in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING.
Idris Elba stars as The Djinn and Tilda Swinton as Alithea Binnie in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING. Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc. © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved

Audiences and viewers have seen Idris Elba in many shapes and forms: the doting dad and hero in “Beast,” the Norse god Heimdall in “Thor,” a gunslinger in “The Harder They Fall,” Mandela in “Long Walk to Freedom,” Brixton aka Black Superman in “Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw,” Beyonce’s hubby in “Obsessed,” the sinister Knuckles in “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” Detective Chief Inspector in his popular British TV series “Luther,” and the criminal Russell “Stringer” Bell on “The Wire”—just to name a few. However, in “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” moviegoers will see a side of Elba they have never seen before.

Idris Elba and Burcu Gölgedar as Zefir. Photot: Elise Lockwood © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Idris Elba and Burcu Gölgedar as Zefir. Photot: Elise Lockwood © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved

Elba is the perfect example of a dichotomy. He is known to be one of the coolest characters in Hollywood, yet one of the hottest actors on the planet. When I first interviewed Elba for “Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance,” I playfully asked, “If I touch you, would I burn?” He just laughed, so I resisted the urge.

Idris Elba as The Djinn in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING
Idris Elba as The Djinn in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING Photo: Elise Lockwood © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved

In “Three Thousand Years of Longing, Elba is a Djinn. His protagonist is the renowned actress, Tilda Swinton. The versatile actress sways both ways onscreen and relishes her gender-fluid roles. Swinton’s scary Gabriel in “Constantine” still haunts me.

“Three Thousand Years of Longing” is directed by George Miller. In it,  Dr. Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is attending a conference in Istanbul. She happens to encounter a Djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. This presents two problems. First, she doubts that he is real and second, because she is a scholar of story and mythology, she knows all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong. The Djinn pleads his case by telling her fantastical stories of his past, particularly one about the Queen of Sheba that has never been told before. Eventually she is beguiled and makes a wish that surprises them both.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEBG: Idris Elba’s Daughter Refused to Speak to Him After He Didn’t Cast Her in ‘Beast’ | WATCH

Idris Elba as the Djinn and Aamito Lagum as the Queen Sheba in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING
Idris Elba as the Djinn and Aamito Lagum as the Queen Sheba in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING

In a Zoom press conference with Elba and Swinton, they were both asked what was it about “Three Thousand Years: that drew them in?

Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING
Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING Photo credit: Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc. © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved

IDRIS ELBA: As an actor, it was a gift, just a complete gift, like, go ahead, create something unique. As actors, you know, we dread being stale. We want it to be fresh a lot. We want it to feel like the first time you’re saying these words. It was important to me to veer away from anything that we may have seen before.

TILDA SWINTON: It was a brilliant idea, and at the same time, you know, it takes George Miller to catch that out of the air and make it happen. And it served all of us, I think. We wanted to do something different.

IE: I had never attempted or wanted to even try doing something like this before. It was controversial in a sense. in the sense that, you know, the genie is one thing, and the Djinn is another thing all together. And to depict the Djinn is like saying, ‘I’m going to play the devil versus an evil spirit.’

TS: I would say that I can’t escape acknowledging that I’ve had fun in my life working with a number of stories about immortals. But I have tended to play the immortal. And the great opportunity here was to play the human, to play the mortal in the face of the immortal.  And that was definitely a fresh road for me to travel.

IE: Also, I got to create an accent that before this film, I think didn’t exist. Phonetically it may sound similar to things you may have heard before, but the work that we did in order to create his voice was really exciting to me. I love how I was able to manipulate how I sound, to sound like a different character. So yeah, that’s it.

“Three Thousand Years of Longing” is now in theaters.

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Marie Moorehttp://eurweb.com
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.

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