Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Ghetto Nerd Win: Quick Thoughts on Thor and an Interview with Idris Elba

Ghetto nerds on the rise again as it seems that we are everywhere, the new Renaissance men and women.

It took me a while to see Thor (by the way the Hangover 2 was so blah I fell asleep during it).

I am happy to report that it was giddy, playful, self-aware, and just fun. I also got to see what the hullaboo by the white supremacist Nordic God wannabes was all about regarding the casting of Idris Elba as the character Heimdall. Non-story--of course--as the mythos of the Thor film is such that people from another dimension/plane of existence/planets came to Earth and were adopted by humanity as gods leaves the white identity nationalist victimology crowd looking silly (as they almost always do) by default.

I am still worried about the bloated potential of the upcoming Avengers movie, but Thor's allusion to the Skrull and the Cosmic Cube are a move in the right direction by creating a threat so great that a super team would be necessary to get the win.

The Independent has a great interview with Iris Elba that is well worth reading in its entirety. He seems like such an arrogant, confident, navigating the world in an unapologetically Black way, brother that I can't help but smile. Iris exudes the cool in a way akin to Miles, it just radiates off the screen. A selection from Idris Elba: 'I'm So Hot Right Now':

He's appearing at a cinema near you now in Kenneth Branagh's comic book adaptation, Thor, in which he plays the Norse god Heimdall. The film is spectacular fun, yet Elba is given relatively little to do. So where are the leading roles? Doesn't someone of such undoubted charisma fancy himself for his own superhero franchise?

"I'd be lying if I said no," he agrees. "The dynamics of a superhero character are just larger. I've got a huge imagination, always had. I read Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk as a kid. (And The Beano, naturally.) So to imagine myself doing all that stuff is a real thrill. Thor is a huge, legendary comic book story and I wanted to be a part of it. Heimdall fighting the frost giants! It's just wicked."

His next film is perhaps the most promising yet. A few days after our interview, he's due at Pinewood to begin shooting Ridley Scott's Prometheus, the director's long-awaited prequel to Alien. The production is shrouded in secrecy, and Scott has even tried to play down its links to the original Alien story, but Elba is giddy about the prospect. "I'm ridiculously excited. I worked with Ridley on American Gangster and he is royalty to me. I was three years old when he first conceived the idea for Alien, but it's timeless. You look at the technology he was thinking about then: the robot characters, the mothership. That shit has lived on in movies, on TV. But Ridley was the first to do it."

By this time the two of us are sitting in a quiet pub – me sipping a Coke, he a Carlsberg – with fewer strangers present to witness my emasculation by association. In common with other alpha male celebrities I've encountered, Elba has the air of an entrepreneur; he's the CEO of his own personal brand. It's not entirely specious to compare him to Stringer Bell in this respect: the striving Bell was in the drugs trade, but his real business was himself.

Business, moreover, seems to be Elba's first priority. He has a nine-year-old daughter with his ex-wife, from whom he was divorced before he was 30, and a one-year-old son from another relationship. Beyond that, he says, "I try not to talk about my personal life. It's unfair for the people involved. Right now, I'm single by choice. It's a busy time, and it's hard to maintain a good relationship when you live in a caravan. Know what I mean?"

If you do want to know more about Elba's emotional insides, I would direct you to his personal blog,, which features a selection of his musical recordings, under the moniker Big Driis. "I might tell you some stuff as a journalist, but I'll be brutally honest in my music. People will know more about me if they listen to my lyrics."

Chuckle if you must, and others have, but Elba has been a DJ since the age of 14, when he would accompany his uncle and his uncle's sound system to weddings. He spun records to pay the bills when he first arrived in the States, has produced two solo EPs, and can now count Jay-Z, Angie Stone and Pharoahe Monch among his collaborators. His music – an accomplished mix of hip-hop and soul – has appeared on the soundtracks to Prom Night and American Gangster.

"I feel like [Kanye] West when he told [Damon] Dash he was trying to rhyme," he raps on "Take Mine", a hip-hop-literate riposte to his doubters. "2 Black 2 Strong", meanwhile, is as self-aggrandising as anything by West himself: "I'm so hot right now ... I'm a one-man Million Man March movement". There are some sensitive love songs, too, though these are offset by the likes of "Sex in Your Dreams", which begins: "I'm in that zone, bone hard diamond-cutter/ Dick thick, like homemade butter..." and proceeds from there.


Henri B. said...

I like what the reviewers said, "They take a black character, put him in Asgard and make him a doorman." =)

They talk about us getting pissy about race in movies - they were fighting blue people. Get a grip WSs.

John Kurman said...

Well... as a student of Norse mythology, I can tell you that Thor is more a figure of fun than a badass. First of all, he's pretty stupid, has a terrible temper, gets easily distracted, is a cuckold (probably an analogy to his "hammer" - got a big head but a short shaft), and he's a redhead.

Undoubtedly an Iron age character of the blacksmith - both a figure of fun and also makes magical things happen. With his wild greasy matted tangled red hair, bloodshot eyes set in a soot-blackened face, with Loki (fire) a representation of the hearth or foundry fire, and Odin (air, wind) working the bellows, you can't help but get the idea he's a blacksmith.

Just sayin'. Norse gods and are nothing like the dipshit supremacists make them out to be. They are all to human. They fart in bed, piss in corners, get scared, grow old, get drunk and fall down - pretty much a family gathering for me.

Vesuvian Woman said...

Thank you for reminding me of why I have a crush on that sexy beast w/ the accent ; )

chaunceydevega said...

@Tanya. That was sharp. And it made me sad.

@John. See, that is a great story and more powerful to my eyes. I like Gods who are like me--failed, corrupt, petty, silly, happy, lustful, but still manage to get the job done. To your knowledge does the white nationalist crowd embrace that part of the story or do they do, like many of the religiously minded, deify and make perfect those they worship?

@Vesuvian. There are no crushes in this dojo.

John Kurman said...

The white nationalist crowd has no knowledge of Norse mythology - period. They are too busy worshiping themselves to be bothered to educate themselves on their own heritage.

Only reason I know of it was a conscious effort to get educated about my own past. Not always a pleasant one, understand as a lot of my cultural heritage - the symbols, stories, and values - was permanently polluted by the Nazis.