Twenty years prior to Idris Elba becoming a household name, he swung by his father’s factory and took a go-kart out for one last joyride. The next day he left for the U.S., landing in NYC, and the rest is history. If this were a movie, Elba taking the go-kart out would be some pretty bad-ass foreshadowing, with the Emmy-nominated Luther actor now hosting BBC AMERICA’s King of Speed, a three-part documentary, premiering Monday, July 14, at 10/9c. The series charts the origins and history of underground racing in the U.S., Scotland, Finland and more. Elba doesn’t just host; he gets behind the wheel in some high speed, off-track racing.
Rogue race car driver may be just one of many things you didn’t know Elba specializes in.
Here are eight other hidden talents:
1. Inspires Poetry
It’s not too surprising to learn Elba makes women swoon, but the adoration inspired a female fan’s husband to write a poem entitled, “I’m Sorry I’m Not Idris Elba,” resulting in a global man panic. And Elba’s response: he’s not sorry.
2. Spins Records
A lot of people may know that Elba started off deejaying prior to acting, but what they may not know is that he’s still hopping behind the turntable. He’s an international movie star, but when he gets the itch, he scratches.
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) July 10, 2014
3. Carries a Tune
Sure, everyone can carry a tune when singing in the shower, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Elba not only can carry a tune, but took it a step further making a music video with lyrics like, “Let your guard down. Let this brother enter … your private garden.” See talent #1: we are sure there are plenty who will take him up on that offer. You can watch and listen to the video here.
4. Tackles Directing
He’s not only starred in music videos, but has gotten behind the camera directing Mumford & Sons‘ music video Lover of the Light. He just recently cast and directed his first short film entitled Unstoppable, based in 1978 England, revolving around the spirit of football.
5. Boxing Machine
No, we’re not talking about beat boxing. We’ve moved from the music world into the ring. The seasoned actor became “obsessed” with learning the sport of boxing when preparing for his role in Mandela. His passion went beyond the film, as he told Vulture, “I’m 39 years old and now would not be the ideal time to start boxing. But I just find it so fascinating, the conditioning. And I’m dog tired right now, but I’m fighting through that.”
6. Heats Up the Kitchen
The hunky actor isn’t too macho to throw on an apron, telling People, “I like spices and I like experimenting with stuff. I love rice and vegetables but I love meat, spicing up meats.”
7. Slick Salesman
Elba has starred in a few commercials depicting the regular guy: driving a Toyota, drinking Tanqueray London Dry Gin, and catching up with favorite TV shows with Sky Box sets. He comes across as being just like us, and yeah, I’d buy what he’s selling.
8. Doting Father
Elba has so much going on, but the proud father makes time for his two children, taking the time to share a snap of his newborn baby son being cheeky. Elba has an 11-year-old daughter from a former relationship, who he’s escorted down the red carpet as seen here.
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