As mentioned several weeks before the start of TIFF, the Beasts Of No Nation carpet was the one big ask I put to our producers at etalk. The request was granted. On Sunday night I was in first position at the premiere.
This was the 5th or 6th time I’ve interviewed Idris. Did I ever tell you that I once interviewed him and Charlie Hunnam together? Me, in a small room with Idris and Charlie. I think at one point they talked about Grindr. It’s amazing that I didn’t pass out. But I do wonder sometimes what the payback for that was. Because life is about the balance. My ma, the Chinese Squawking Chicken, always says that the fates will even things out. So whenever the universe gives you an Idris + Charlie situation, it’ll also serve up some mega sh-t. When the universe gives you Idris Elba + Cary Fukunaga in one night, your dog collapses the next morning requiring an emergency blood transfusion and three (and counting) days in the hospital.
Unlike Tom Hardy, Idris arrived with enough time to take selfies and hang out with fans and give media outlets three or four questions each. Also he looked really f-cking good. Like maybe the best he’s ever looked in all the times I’ve seen him. The leather jacket. The kicks. Oh my god, the pants. There is no one, NO ONE, who wears the sh-t out of a pair of pants like Idris Elba. Maybe it’s because he designed them? I had the privilege of seeing him move in them from every angle. You know where I’ll be storing those memories.
As always, when Idris comes to play, he plays well. He was fun. He was cute. He smiled a lot. We talked about whether or not he’s a persuasive person, because his character in the film is very persuasive, and he said he wasn’t…but then he leaned in and gave me that cheeky smile, and when he speaks to you, he’s tactile, like he would touch my shoulder, or my elbow, so my point is he’s full of sh-t because he is most definitely persuasive. I would cut my hair off if he asked me to.
Cary Fukunaga arrived just after Idris. In a suit, which was fine. But I think he’s better in casuals. And in real life. I’ve seen this face up close. The photographs don’t represent how beautiful he is, how well his face is structured, and how thoughtful his eyes are. Also you can’t hear him from a picture. And he has such a lovely speaking voice, and such a great laugh. And, oh yeah, he’s brilliant. You’ll read more about that in Sarah’s review of the film coming up, but he’s brilliant. He just directed a kid who’d never acted before to the Best Young Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival and he might be the one to take Netflix to the Oscars. All of that in one confident but not cocky person. This was my biggest takeaway from interviewing Cary Fukunaga. Unlike most directors who are uncomfortable in the spotlight, he has a really centred and contained presence. There was no famewhoring but he wasn’t anxious either. While he was posing at the photo wall, while he was signing for fans, while he was speaking to the media, there was an ease about every action and reaction, and not in an “all business, let’s get to it” way either. Like he’d be just as steady on set as he was on the carpet. That’s probably the sexiest thing about him. He’s a leader who doesn’t have to posture.