Idris Elba says portraying negative characters is 'a bit of therapy' for him

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Los Angeles, Jun 9 (PTI) "Luther" star Idris Elba says playing villainous characters is quite like "therapy" as actors can get away with saying some of the most horrible things on screen.

The actor has essayed several formidable antagonists over the years, including his roles in "Beasts of No Nation" (2015), "Hobbs & Shaw" (2019) and "The Harder They Fall" (2021).

"These people get to say things that we only think in the deepest, darkest recesses of our brains. They say horrible things and scream horrible things and get to be completely socially unacceptable. As an actor, that's sometimes a gift, sometimes a bit of therapy," Elba told The Wall Street Journal about playing the "bad guy" roles.

What's also compelling about these villains, the actor said, they tend to be "well written".

"When you see a really interesting bad guy, you're going to think about the actor, but think about the writer. It's the writer who's dark. You've got to give him or her a hug," he added.

Elba, 51, also spoke about how he chooses the characters he plays on screen.

"I guess I'm one of those actors who believe acting is acting. I don't really have a formula for what to choose. If I resonate with the character, I don't have a hierarchy. Is the writing good? Is it something I've done before? Can I disappear in the role?" he said.

The actor is set to lend his voice to animated film "Sonic the Hedgehog 3" in which he will voice the character of Knuckles. Directed by Jeff Fowler, it is slated to be released on December 20. PTI ATR ATR RDS RDS