Idris Elba’s directorial debut, Yardie, brought him a diverse range of experiences as he took his new role behind the camera. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film heavily features reggae music. The specific tracks were picked by Elba who has had experience with music through DJing.
The story is taken from the Victor Headley novel of the same name which centers on a Jamaican man involved with crime and who has been having a difficult time getting over the murder of his brother. The film takes place in 1970s Kingston and 1980s London. Growing up around Jamaican culture, Elba felt that he would be able to tell this story. “It was a book that I read when I was 14; one of the first books I read,” he said. “It [had] a character that I could relate to living in London at the time.”
After the music for the film was composed by Dickon Hinchliffe, Elba became attached to the music. “[It] inspired me to make more music,” Elba said. “Historically, I’ve made an album for my Mandela film, an EP for Luther. And it’s something that I’m going to continue to do for the rest of my career, which is called character albums.” These character albums include songs that are related to specific characters. One such song is “Stand By Me” which was written for the film’s main character and his lover.
He describes a director’s job as a role where one is involved in every aspect of the film. Directors are there from the inception of the film to the end. Aside from being a director, Elba became more involved with the film by operating the B camera. Some scenes required two cameras so Elba took up the job of operating one of them. This opportunity enhanced his experience as a director since he was becoming more attuned to each of the actors’ moves, thus forming new connections with the film.
See Yardie in theaters March 15.