The next to last episode of my favorite television hour, The Wire, rubbed out Stringer Bell…. Whacked! Another HBO Main Player Meets His End:
Fans of HBO’s hit crime series “The Wire” may have been shocked off their couches last night when one of the show’s main characters, the calculating drug dealer Stringer Bell, was gunned down in a gruesome ambush.
But it is unlikely that anyone in the Sunday-night audience was as stunned as Idris Elba, the 32-year-old actor who has brought Stringer to life since “The Wire” began three years ago. “When I first read the script I was like: ‘What? No! This isn’t supposed to happen,’ ” Mr. Elba said over dinner at an Upper West Side restaurant. “I was deeply disappointed. It was a surprise, a complete surprise.”
Mr. Elba, who is far more sensitive than the stoic Stringer, said his last day of work was particularly emotional. Michael K. Williams, who plays Omar Devone Little, the gay, shotgun-toting thug who blasts away Stringer, said: “There were a lot of wet eyes on the set. I just had to keep telling myself that Idris is alive and he has a bright future ahead of him.”
Fans of the show may be surprised to learn that Mr. Elba is not African American. The only child of a mother from Ghana and father from Sierre Leone, Mr. Elba was born and brought up in Hackney, a working-class borough of London. It is a fact he reluctantly shares with fans, preferring instead to use his American accent when talking with those who request autographs. “Wherever I go the real hard-core dudes come up to me and confide in me,” said Mr. Elba, who over the years has been approached by dozens of drug dealers identifying with Stringer. “I almost feel guilty turning around and saying: ‘Hello, mate. My name’s Idris and I’m from London.’ ” Mr. Elba burst into an exaggerated version of his cockney accent. “I don’t want to break the illusion.”
I’d pay to see that particular interaction….