He made a name for himself playing notorious drug runner Russell 'Stringer' Bell in The Wire. But while that role proved to be the launch pad for what has become a hugely successful career, Idris Elba says his life prior to finding fame was akin to those lived out on Bell's grimy inner-city playground. In an interview with the October issue of GQ the 41-year-old actor opens up about his shady past as a drug dealer, brought about following a move from his native London to New York more than 20 years ago.
"I was running with cats," he said. "I mean, I was deejaying, but I was also pushing bags of weed; I was doing my work. I had to. I know that sounds corny, but this is the truth."
Before gaining a reputation as one of Britain's finest actors, courtesy of his prominent role in the HBO show, Elba was relying on the charity of friends after a short-lived marriage fell apart — even sleeping in the back of his van when he had nowhere else to go.
He recalled: "The apartment we had together was in Jersey City, so when I left, I was sofa-hopping here and there and got to a place where I was parking it in Jersey somewhere and just camping down for the night."
Elba was still living in that van when he auditioned for The Wire — initially for the role of cold-blooded crack dealer Avon Barksdale.
The show would turn the actor into a regular fixture on US TV during its five-season run, with word-of-mouth, box-sets and repeats eventually working the same magic for him in the UK. Elba is now poised to win his first Oscar at next year's Academy Awards thanks to his role as South African leader Nelson Mandela in forthcoming biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Despite that success, he remains adamant that it was the authenticity of the show, rather than his ability to bring Stringer Bell to life, that launched his career.
— Daily Mail
'That's still my Miley'
Billy Ray Cyrus has broken his silence over his daughter Miley's controversial performance the MTV VMAs last month.
In an interview on CNN's Piers Morgan Live, Billy Ray seemed to play down the controversy by saying: "She's an artist. She's real."
Piers — who gushed to the Achy Breaky Heart singer about being a fan of his daughter — asked how he felt about the performance that saw her gyrating up against Robin Thicke and suggestively waving a foam finger.
But Billy Ray said his daughter Miley has "risen to a whole new level" since her performance at thebash.
He explained: "I think that what's happened over the years, Miley has been reinventing her sound. She's evolving as an artist herself. I think that all of what everyone is calling controversy now, that's still my Miley."
The 52-year-old country singer added that he is proud of his daughter despite the overtly raunchy performance — and thinks the former Hannah Montana star is trying to leave her Disney image behind.
He said: "Miley's smart enough to know that to come out of the shadows of Hannah Montana, it really takes something extremely drastic, which, when you go to that level, it creates passion, and passion is either love or hate. But there's no middle of the road for passion."
"She has risen to a whole new level. I thought I had seen it all - until these last couple of weeks."
Billy thinks the 20-year-old Wrecking Ball hitmaker is a "real artist" and despite the criticism she has faced in recent weeks she will always be "my Miley".
— Daily Mail