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[MUSIC] I'm in Thailand taking part in a documentary about Muay Thai fighting. And it was such a beautiful country and a beautiful Backdrop that you know Essence and I, we had this great moment of inspiration to put a great photo shoot together. The experience of the photo shoot was incredible. Dennis Leopold, the photographer, he did an incredible job. We got to see Some really beautiful clothing, really beautiful backdrops put together and then me, you know what I'm saying? No, I'm joking, but it was a really good experience. It was one of my favorite shoots if I'm honest. 2017 is a really exciting year for me. Last year I worked very hard on a few films. One of which, Dark Tower, is coming out Stephen King's novels is one of his first set of the novels. He was a little nervous taking on the role of a gunslinger. He's a revered character. I'm excited, myself and Matthew McConaughey, I'm a big fan of his work. Guerilla is a really exciting project that John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave, penned and put together and asked me to be a part of his team as a producer and an actor in the show. Gorilla is a really fascinating story about how I really I wanna know time in England where the black experience in England was literally harsh down by what was known as the Black Desk. The Black Desk was a Scotland Yard which is just the police service desk. Scotland Yard headquarters there had a desk which was to To design to quiet anybody that felt that was a radical and that was gonna stand up against the man and stand up against racial tensions in England and they called it the black desk. It's an interesting story, so I co produced it with my company Green Door and A company called Fifty Fathoms and it's on Showtime and it's on Sky in England. [MUSIC]

Idris Elba has found his purpose behind the camera. Obviously, he’s fantastic in front of it, but his directorial debut in Yardie will show where his true passion lies. As our August 2017 cover star, the actor talks about his upcoming films, jammed packed schedule and love life.

Set to star in six projects this year —including Thor: Ragnarok and the fifth season of Luther— the 44-year-old was so busy, his photo shoot had to be completed in Thailand where he was training for a Muay Thai match.

Dennis Leupold

Yardie is quite a semi-famous bit of English literature about a small-time pastor who comes from Jamaica and ends up embroiled in [avenging his brother’s death],” he shares about his directorial debut film. “It’s set in the late seventies, early eighties, a hotbed of Jamaican culture in London, but then crack cocaine arrives.”

When discussing the main character D (played by Aml Ameen), he relates him to his Sierra Leon-Ghanaian upbringing in London.

Dennis Leupold

“He’s a fish out of water and finds himself becoming a gangster really quickly. It’s not really his life. For me, I’m making that story because A, it’s a part of the reason I became a man. I was born in 1972, and that’s just my era. And B, there’s a big, big music component. I love music and I love film. This is my chance to marry the two.”

Work aside, when asked about finding love in the midst of raising two kids and filming so much, he was honest.

“Am I ever gonna get remarried? I don’t think so. Yeah, I don’t think so,” he says. “Marriage is an institution of sorts. And I’ve done it. It’s not for everybody. It’s not my life’s calling.”

Pick up the August 2017 issue of ESSENCE Magazine, on newsstands Friday, July 14.

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