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The Big C
(2010)

Idris Elba as Lenny in The Big C
Idris Elba as Lenny (with Laura Linney)


By fall 2010, had there been one area of deficiency in Elba's filmography, it was comedy. Granted, the previous year he had an extended recurring stint on NBC's The Office, but he was used as a hard ass straight man foil to star Steve Carell's shenanigans; on the big screen, Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla a couple of years prior gave him an amount of lighter material to play with, but like his Office role, his was not exactly an outright comic character. In a way, the same can be applied to his four-episode character of Lenny in Showtime's comedy series, but this breezier creation was a bit of a revelation for Elba the actor; while he has always displayed an affable, often goofier personality in interviews as such, never before had it been translated to an actual screen role as it did here. Quick with a witty quip as dryly British as his accent; shamelessly, playfully romantic yet intelligently realistic; and altogether charming, it's hardly a stretch that married mom Laura Linney would throw all caution to the wind and dive into a reckless affair with him, cancer-prompted existential crisis or not. His effortlessly appealing work was an ideal example of what a recurring guest spot should be: injecting a taste of indelible personality in the process but without overpowering the primary purpose in supporting and developing the main character and storyline--making it no real wonder that this performance earned him a 2011 Emmy Award nomination as Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.

--Michael Dequina, September 6, 2011


Idris Elba as Lenny in The Big C
Idris Elba as Lenny (with Laura Linney)


The Gospel (2005) Daddy's Little Girls (2007) The Reaping (2007) 28 Weeks Later (2007) American Gangster (2007)
This Christmas (2007) Prom Night (2008) RocknRolla (2008) The Unborn (2009) Obsessed (2009)
The Losers (2010) Luther (2010) Takers (2010) The Big C (2010) Legacy (2010)
Thor (2011) Luther II (2011) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) Prometheus (2012) The Pavement Psychologist (2013)
Luther III (2013) Pacific Rim (2013) Thor: The Dark World (2013) Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom


Photos courtesy Showtime
The Films of Idris Elba/text and site design Michael Dequina
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