Monday, June 17, 2024

Idris Elba (The James Bond Everyone Wanted) Talks “Hijack” And Being a Leading Man: “It’s all perspective– I’m sure I’m not good looking to everyone!”


HIJACK, on Apple TV +, has quickly captured its audience, proving to be a massive international hit.  The first three shows have dropped, there are seven in total and the fourth one will debut this Wednesday.  HIJACK is already the third most popular streamed show in the top ten and climbing higher daily.  Idris Elba, (also a producer) plays Sam, a skilled negotiator who finds himself on this nail-biting  perilous flight.

Taking place in real time, the undeniable charismatic star power of Elba has made this series an instant hit.  Elba has a storied acting career, he’s also a singer, songwriter and DJ.  At the recent press conference at the Ham Yard Hotel in London, Elba was joined on the panel by creators George Kay (Lupin) and Jim Field Smith (Criminal) as well as fellow actors Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) and actor Maxton Beesley.  The project has been 2 ½ years in the making.  Elba explained what drew him in. “I knew early in the journey what we were trying to achieve and the perspective of the story.   As a producer and an actor, I was interested in doing something that hit the mark in Television.  I love watching  TV and making it. I think the merger of film and TV has gotten smaller.” 

Most of the action takes place in the air.  Elba explained, “There were challenges setting it almost exclusively inside an airplane.  There are two problems with that.  One is to engage the audience dramatically, so it does not feel dull and flat.  The other is to make you feel that you are actually in an airplane. We shot on a real plane in a studio and the confinement of that really applied to the drama.  It all led into the claustrophobia of it.  The fight sequences were not easy to maneuver around because we did not take the plane apart and make it easy for us to shoot.  We made it as hard on ourselves as we possibly could so that would translate convincingly on screen.”

Elba was asked that as an actor who gets a variety of roles, is it a blessing or a curse to be such a good -looking man?  He quipped, “Hey it’s all perspective. I’m sure I’m not good looking to everyone! “He added, “All my life I’ve been told I’m a big lad.  I’ve taken on roles that have fed into that a bit.  This particular time was interested in playing against that.  Sam isn’t always the hero, he’s more cerebral and vulnerable in the sense that that he has lot going on internally about his family.  For me, it was playing against type. Some camera angles are not sexy, especially on a plane!  But I am a big guy, so luckily, I was in the first-class cabin with extra leg room!”

At the premiere at the British Film Institute, Elba thanked his mother (he’s building a film studio in Ghana where she is from) who he credits with the ‘inspiration’ to be an actor. “Quite literally, none of us would be here without her.” He went on to thank Apple TV. “Apple has been very supportive of me and my career.  They’ve done an incredible job of doing what they do in this ever-changing streaming world.  They offer something very fantastic.  HIJACK is a bit of a showcase for that.”  He then went on to thank his fellow cast and crew for working on “the flight that took six months. We probably could have gone to Mars!”  He then ended the night with, “I’m really proud of this series.”   Elba has every right to be.  It’s a thrilling, gripping over the top entertaining ride. Don’t miss it! 

Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney writes from Los Angeles for A seasoned journalist with a long history during the halcyon days of the NY Daily News, Leah is a member of the Critics Choice and Rotten Tomatoes.

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