Apple has made a concerted effort to reel in some big stars in these early days of Apple TV+ in order to bring their nascent streaming platform some serious legitimacy. Idris Elba is the latest to hop on board, having signed on to star in a romantic spy thriller written by The Daily Show writer Travon Free and produced by Simon Kinberg.
Story details are being kept pretty close to the vest, but the story is reportedly set in Africa and described as being similar in vein to Kinberg’s own breakout script, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. That film was a hit thanks to the chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, so Apple will probably be looking for something similar when casting Elba’s love interest.
Apple reportedly beat out several other suitors for the project. Kinberg was already the subject of another bidding war recently, with Netflix acquiring his heist script Here Comes The Flood. He also has a relationship with Apple already, working on a sci-fi series the streamer views as a potential tentpole.
Anyway, back to Elba, who has not been in many romantic films in his career, so it will be interesting to see how he fares. We know he’ll have all aspects of the spy and thriller parts of the film down, but this is mostly fresh territory for an actor mostly known for tougher roles – not counting Cats, of course, although one could call that “tough” in a different sense.
Elba recently wrapped filming on James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad, and he’s also producing and starring in the indie Concrete Cowboy. He’s also preparing to film The Harder They Fall for Apple’s rival Netflix, a film which boasts Jay-Z as a producer.