34 Thought Provoking & Inspiring Idris Elba Quotes

Idris Elba Quote

Born in London to supportive West African parents, Idris Elba decided fairly early that he wanted to become an actor one day. Although his parents disapproved, he decided to tackle it on nonetheless, because that’s where his heart has always been – intertwined in creativity . He would land a secure career as an actor in England but then wanted to pursue bigger and grander things in the United States. Idris would wound up broke and slept in his van around the same time as his marriage fell apart. After getting his big shot on “The Wire”, his life miraculously changed course. Today, Idris Elba pursues everything and anything close to his heart – acting, singing, DJ’ing, rapping and even drag racing. As a man on a mission, it was only right to dissect Idris Elba’s most inspiring and thought provoking quotes that showcase his passion, grit and ambitious mindset! Here are Idris Elba’s 34 TOP quotes…


1.) “I’m an ambitious person. I never consider myself in competition with anyone, and I’m not saying that from an arrogant standpoint, it’s just that my journey started so, so long ago, and I’m still on it and I won’t stand still.”

2.)“The less I talk about being black, the better.”

3.) “I’ve always had ambition, and the acting was successful and put my name on the map, but it was never the plan to stop there.”

4.)”I’m never shaken or stirred.”

5.) “As an actor, all day long I’m reading someone else’s thoughts. What about my own thoughts? That comes out in various guises. Writing. Directing. And music, unfortunately.”

6.)“Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond. So if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.”

7.)“To me, grime is the purest form of hip-hop in the world at the moment because it comes from a place of: ‘We are who we are and we aspire to be this.’ I feel close to that. That’s where US hip-hop lost some of its way because now it’s like: ‘We’re all ballers and we all make stupid amounts of money.'”


8.) “I come from an era, in my world, where you just had to define yourself as who you are and what you do. I happen to be an actor. I happen to be someone that loves to act, that also likes music, that also likes to speak, and that also has an opinion.”

9.) “What really excites me in a project is when it goes in a way you haven’t been before.”

10.) “When you come from an under-privileged background, oftentimes, you feel a little overwhelmed by your education or your lack of.”

11.) “I’m not about the celebrity aspect of [art]. For me what’s interesting is: what is that moment where somebody like me, who doesn’t have [anything], can see Michael Jackson, Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes and go: ‘I wanna be like that’? And what is that moment where you know you can get there?”

12.) “I’m rebelling against being handed a career, like, ‘You’re the next this; you’re the next that.’ I’m not the next anything, I’m the first me. I can’t be myself, I can’t just be Idris Elba. But that’s just the nature of the business.”

13.) “My Father always told me that a fool at 40 is a fool for life.”

14.) “Nobody likes a celebrity DJ for the sake of style, so I don’t do that – I try to be good at what I do. It’s all about resetting, it’s my escape. It is work, it’s a job, but I just love doing it.”

15.) “It could be Grammy night, Oscar night, whatever – I don’t feel the pressure to be there.”


The Following Questions and Answers Are From An Interview With Maxim:


On his father’s reaction of wanting to be an actor:

16.) “He said, “Boy, think of something else.” He just straight told me actors don’t make money. And I was like, No, I’m gonna do it.”

On leaving a secure career in England to the unknown in New York:

17.) “Yeah, definitely. My agent in England didn’t support it. She said, “We’re just getting you work in the first place! Why do you need to go over there and be another hamburger? They already have hamburgers.” And I was like, Well, I wanna be a bigger and juicier hamburger. So I ended up in America only to find out that I wasn’t even a ham sandwich. It was tough.”


When asked about his marriage falling apart and being homeless in the US:

18.) “Yeah, I had “the Grizzly,” my Astro van. I loved it, but it wound up being the place where I had to sleep. In my personal life and my financial life, I was practically on my knees. I would deejay till late, jump in the van, sleep wherever I parked, get up really early, and then go on to whatever my next day was. I had people who would let me come over and have a wash. I did that for about three months. It was tough, I’m not gonna lie.”


19.) “I was cast in ‘Thor’ and I’m cast as a Nordic god. If you know anything about the Nords, they don’t look like me but there you go. I think that’s a sign of the times for the future. I think we will see multi-level casting. I think we will see that, and I think that’s good.”

20.) “My dad died eight, nine weeks ago. He was 76. He died of lung cancer. I am having to deal with grief and it has taken a profound effect on me. I put on a smile, put on the suits and I go on the red carpet. I do the work, and I’m doing it because that is what my old man would want me to do. He was very proud of me.”

21.) “As much as it’s nice to step into that massive world of Hollywood and be a big, famous actor, I prefer the career of actors that have really chosen smartly and done really amazing performances. Maybe they’re not as known, but their careers are a bit more interesting.”

22.) “I’d rather a young black actor read about success as opposed to how tough it was.”

23.) “My definition of bad-ass is that I’m a force of nature and true spirit. I’m self-admitting that, and it sounds vain to say that, but I am.”

24.) “I would never be fearful of any character.”

25.) “Apparently, Daniel Craig said I’d be a great Bond. Daniel, why did you say that? Dropped me right in it! What an honor it would be, but also, what an indication of change.”

26.) “White actors still get way more money in Hollywood. It’s been that way for a very long time. I hope it’ll change, but it’s a matter of forcing that change.”

27.) “What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world.”

28.) “I’d had three or four years of unemployment, not getting acting jobs. I was watching Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes and saying, “I can do that. I can be right there with them.” My wife was about eight and a half months pregnant by the time I got the news I was going to be on “The Wire”. If I didn’t get it, I was going to leave the US. We knew that if I didn’t have acting work after my daughter was born we would be up shit street.”

29.) “For me the battle against Ebola is a personal one, to see those amazing countries in West Africa where my father grew up and my parents married being ravaged by this disease is painful and horrific.”

30.) “I wasn’t bad at school, but I was never a bookworm.”

31.) “Waking up in TRUTH is so much better than living in a lie.”

32.) “I love working. I’m a workaholic and I’m really privileged for some of the jobs I get offered and so I just want to keep going.”

33.) “Look, when I wasn’t on television or in films, I didn’t get any special attention when I went out. Some beautiful people always attract attention. I didn’t until I got on television. So I’m on these lists only because I’m on television. It happens to me all the time, still. I’ll sit in a pub and nobody will recognize me. I might see an attractive woman, but she doesn’t recognize me, so I’m not getting any love. Then one person goes, “Oh, it’s you,” and suddenly, they all overhear and start asking questions. It’s bullshit.”

34.) “My dad died eight, nine weeks ago. He was 76. He died of lung cancer. I am having to deal with grief and it has taken a profound effect on me. I put on a smile, put on the suits and I go on the red carpet. I do the work, and I’m doing it because that is what my old man would want me to do. He was very proud of me.”