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IDRIS ELBA ‘REAPING’ THE BENEFITS: Actor gets more big screen time.

April 7, 2007 by  
Filed under Entertainment

      ( Idris Elba just can’t stay out of the theater; the movie theater, that is.

      The actor, fresh from his run in “Daddy’s Little Girls,” can be seen on the screen again in “The Reaping,” which opens today (Friday) in theaters nationwide.

      The film stars Hilary Swank as a former Christian missionary, and Elba, who investigate a small town that appears to be suffering from the 10 biblical plagues.

      “I had a very interesting character, Ben, with a very interesting arc and I enjoyed playing it; I enjoyed exploring it as we were filming,” Elba said and described his character as a religious man with an interesting background.

      “He’s a religious man that debunks miracles and the reason for him doing that is to prove scientifically that God exists. So Hilary’s character and Ben have a very interesting dynamic there. She’s an atheist and he’s a man that wants to prove that God exists,” he explained. “We didn’t overplay that dynamic, but it was definitely underlying in all our scenes.”

      Elba, the Londoner who made his stateside mark as Russell “Stringer” Bell on HBO’s “The Wire” told reporters that while his character is religious, he considers himself simply spiritual – though he can see how his character could become passionate about proving God.

      “I would love to prove there is a higher being. I would love to prove scientifically that God exists. I am not a religious man, but I am a spiritual being,” he said

      The film is described as a thriller and categorized, at the behest of director Stephen Hopkins, as a horror. Hopkins, along with the actors didn’t want the film to take on such a title, as it conjures up “B-movie” images. Furthermore, some critics were weary that the film might also be a barrage of special effects. However, Elba said that the horror title and superfluous effects were not a part of making the film

      “While we were making this, Stephen wanted to make us very aware that we were not making a horror movie. So we were staying away from the horror clichés.”

      And in reference to the use of special effects, Elba assured audiences of the film’s authenticity, saying that the locale – the Louisiana Bayou was pretty much what you get on screen. And he described that the sequence involving the plague of locusts, leaned a lot on reality, too.

     “The Bayous – that’s what it looks like. There wasn’t much in terms of green screen. And the most horrific part was the locusts. We shot that in this big ‘container’, but that was horrific for me because I can’t stand bugs and these bad boys are huge.”

      Speaking of the Louisiana Bayou, the locale had suffered some major damage from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The film was in production at the time and filming had to be interrupted. Elba

      “Here we are doing this film about acts of God, and it just really changed the way we saw what we were doing,” Elba said of returning to Louisiana and, in particular, working with locals who had lost family and homes to Katrina. “It really gelled us together. There was a sense of ‘I’m really glad I’m alive’ and that transferred onscreen from everything; from the characters in the forefront to the background. I think we all really had a good time making this film. As dark as this film is and as complex as it is, it was a real bonding experience.”

      While taking on the burden of proving there is a God, Elba is set for another big project. He’ll be starring in “American Gangster” with Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, and Cuba Gooding Jr., expected this fall.

      “The Reaping,” also starring David Morrissey, opens today, in theaters through out North America. For more, go to

By Kenya M Yarbrough

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