Idris Elba has become such a big name movie star that he seems to be everywhere. He does so much dashing from genre to genre that it’s hard to imagine there’s any role he can’t handle. Now, he’s returning to the small screen for a major TV role for the first time since the fourth season of BBC’s Luther came to an end, and it'll be his first leading part in the U.S. since The Wire. He’ll star in Showtime’s six-episode U.S. limited run series Guerilla.
Guerilla will follow a 1970s couple who makes the jump from political activism to radical militancy. Together, they liberate a political prisoner and form an underground cell of radicalism, targeting a unit dedicated to destroying black activism in all shapes and sizes. Among other things, they'll have to face the realities of how their decisions affect them as individuals and in their relationship. It’s an unlikely setting for a love story, and so Guerilla should be quite unlike anything else on television. Production will begin toward the end of summer in London.
In addition to starring as the male lead, Idris Elba will serve as an executive producer on the project alongside John Ridley, who is set to write most of the episodes as well as direct the first two in addition to his EP duties. Ridley created the Emmy Award-winning series American Crime for ABC and penned the Academy Award-winning script for 12 Years a Slave, so he should be the perfect person to kick off Guerilla with Elba.
Idris Elba is currently so well-known for his film work that it can be easy to forget his roots in television. He worked his way to fame across the pond in the U.K. thanks to appearances on top shows, and he landed the unforgettable role of Stringer Bell on HBO’s The Wire when he moved to American television. (That also included a brief stint on The Office.) His next big TV part was back in the U.K. again with Luther, so Guerilla will mark a major return to the American airwaves.
This role will be a departure from several of Elba’s recent projects. He’s lent his voice to Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and the upcoming Finding Dory. He donned some creepy contact lenses to play the Asgardian Heimdall in both Thor movies as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron, and headed up the war-torn Netflix feature Beasts of No Nation. He’ll soon appear as the villain Krall in the latest installment in the Star Trek film franchise, and he’s signed on to play the Gunslinger in the Dark Tower adaptation. A TV series set in the 1970s and focusing on a love story against a backdrop of political radicalism should give us the chance to see yet another side of Idris Elba.
Production won’t even start for a couple of months, so we’re still a ways off from seeing Elba in Guerilla on Showtime. Luckily, we shouldn’t be short on TV to pass the time while we wait, so check out our schedule of summer premiere dates to see when you can expect your favorite shows to return to the small screen in the near future.