Idris Elba has come a long way since The Wire. Sure, the award-winning, critically acclaimed hour-long drama may be the best thing that he’s been a part of, but since the HBO hit series ended, he’s picked up meatier roles in bigger projects. He’s got good reason to celebrate his success today, as he’s been cast as the new Dr. Alex Cross, the detective/psychologist at the center of a series of James Patterson novels that led to the cinematic adaptations of Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider.
Morgan Freeman portrayed Cross in the fore mentioned films, and Elba will fill the Oscar winner’s shoes in Cross, a reboot of the series to be directed by Pitch Black helmer David Twohy. Kerry Williamson wrote the script and Lloyd Levin, Belle Avery, Leopoldo Gout, Steve Bowen and Patterson will produce. In the novel, Cross tracks a serial rapist who may have murdered his pregnant wife years before. The film will be independently financed, but said producers are actively searching for a major distributor (Paramount is the front-runner, as the studio produced the previous Cross movies).
What’s most significant about this development is that it gives an experienced, but still “up and coming” African American actor a shot at a major film franchise – an opportunity that very few get as there are barely any successful series of movies that feature a protagonist of color. Elba is a solid pick to anchor a new Cross saga: the actor has gone from niche-audience films like The Gospel and Daddy’s Little Girls to mainstream fare like Obsessed and American Gangster. He’s’ got a pretty wide fan-base and the chops to go with it. With a role in next summer’s sure-to-be-a-hit Thor and Cross on the way, Elba is on the fast-track to superstardom.