IN HIS NEW FILM, “Beast,” Idris Elba plays a father who brings his teenage daughters to the South African village where their late mother was raised. The movie quickly becomes a thriller with the entrance of a vengeful, hungry lion. If the idea of a blockbuster that foregrounds the terror brought about by a hostile apex predator feels familiar, that’s intentional. Mr. Elba says the team behind “Beast” took “the temperature of why ‘Jaws’ works” into account while making their film. “We wanted to make something that resonates and [becomes] a classic.”
The result has the heart of a family road-trip film. While sheltering from the lion in a car, the three process their loss. Mr. Elba, 49, is no stranger to the family road trip—as terrifying for some fathers as sharks. But the English actor says none he’s taken with his two children have inspired him to pick up a tranquilizer gun. “I don’t mind a road trip, man. I like driving.”
Here, the actor, DJ and perennial favorite of the future-James-Bond rumor mill dishes on his favorite videogame and go-to tracks for filling the dance floor.
My longest road trip was: between Detroit and Atlanta years ago. I was by myself and it went really well. I did it in one sitting.
I always pack an: Akai MIDI keyboard so I can make music when I’m on the road. I’ve released many songs that I made in trailers on the sets of movies. I don’t play instruments very well, but if I’ve got my MIDI keyboard, I can futz my way around. I made a house tune called “Body Shots” in South Africa when we were shooting “Beast.”
I spend a lot of time playing: “FIFA 21” football on my Xbox between shots, when I’m not making music. I play with my team: my barber, my makeup guy, security. It’s addictive and I have a lot of fun. I’m an Arsenal fan, so sometimes I play with Arsenal. Other times I play with Paris Saint-Germain, which is a really good team.
My favorite accessory is: My Samsung Galaxy Watch. I can make calls on it without using my phone, and I use it to listen to curated stuff on Spotify and Tidal. The more varied—the more I don’t know what [the song] is going to be—the better.