You may know Idris Elba from his famous roles as druglord Russell "Stringer" Bell on the HBO series The Wire, Detective John Luther on the BBC One series Luther, and Nelson Mandela in the biographical film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013). He's been nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film, winning one (Luther, 2012), and was nominated five times for a Primetime Emmy Award.
Elba has also appeared in movies such as Ridley Scott's American Gangster (2007), Thor (2011), Pacific Rim (2013), and Beasts of No Nation (2015, for which he received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor), and Star Trek Beyond (2016).
Here are some things you may not know about Idris Elba:
1. He has a successful music career.
In 1986, Idris started helping an uncle with his wedding DJ business; within a year, he'd started his own DJ company with some friends. Over 20 years later, he co-produced and performed on the intro to Jay-Z's album American Gangster (2007). He's since released several EP's, some of which were nominated for industry awards. In 2015, Elba opened for Madonna during her Rebel Heart Tour in Berlin.
2. He's had two brief marriages.
Elba's first wife was make-up artist Hanne Norgaard. They have one daughter, Isan, but the marriage ended soon after her birth. As The Wire filmed in Maryland, he met real estate attorney Sonya Nicole Hamlin. They married in 2006, with the marriage only lasting six weeks before Elba left her. After dating since 2013, Elba's girlfriend Naiyana Garth gave birth to their son Winston Elba in 2014.
3. He broke an 88-year-old land speed record.
In 2015, Elba broke a British land speed record in a Bentley Continental GT Speed. The original record, known as the Flying Mile, was set in 1927 by Sir Malcolm Campbell in his Blue Bird land speed record car. Campbell managed to hit 174.8 mph that year, driving along the Pendine Sands stretch of beach on the south coast of Wales. Elba hit 180.361 in his Bentley, all for his Discovery Channel series Idris Elba: No Limits.
4. He spent a year training to become a professional kickboxer.
Elba used to fight and kickbox for training in his twenties. A few years ago, he decided to take it to the next level. Discovery Channel produced Elba's 12-month quest to become a professional kickboxer under Muay Thai coach Kieran Keddle, culminating in Elba's first professional kickboxing fight - and win - against Lionel Graves, a younger, more experienced Dutch opponent, at London's York Hall. (The above footage was shot by Madonna.)
5. He had a brief role as Michael Scott's boss on The Office.
Elba joined NBC's The Office in March of 2009 beginning with the episode "New Boss" as the character Charles Miner. Michael Scott is disturbed by the arrival of his new no-nonsense superior. Meanwhile, Jim struggles to make a good impression on Charles, and Angela and Kelly both develop crushes on their new boss. It was part of a 6-episode arc for Elba, a longtime fan of the show.
6. He's rumored to be the next James Bond.
For years, fans of Elba have tried to will their way into making him the next 007. His name has constantly come up as a contender for the coveted role. But Elba recently came clean on the subject. "It is the wildest rumor in the world," he said on Good Morning America last summer, adding that there have not been any "talks with me and studios about any of that." Oh well. We can still see Elba in The Dark Tower on August 2, 2017.