RIYADH: Award-winning British actor Idris Elba shared his experiences and advice in a Q&A session with Saudi actors and filmmakers trying to make their way into the growing field.
The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) held the first of its digital speaker series, “Ithra Talks,” broadcast live on the center’s YouTube page.
Moderated by Saudi film director Ali Al-Sumayin, the hour-long talk saw Elba speak at length about his experience in the fields of acting and directing.
He also shared his advice for aspiring actors and directors and expressed his gratitude for the fanbase he had in the Kingdom.
“I was very surprised to understand that I have a following in Saudi. I’m very proud that I had this moment with you at this time. I think our world needs to talk to each other a bit more, and for you guys to invite me here at this point is special to me,” he said.
Elba shared his definition of success as it relates to acting.
“You can have a very successful performance in a very small film or show. You can have a successful career where everyone knows who you are, and that version of it is no different from the smaller version in terms … of how much you need to apply yourself as an actor. I felt like I was successful in the first play I ever did because everyone said it was great. To me that was success. That feeling of success is replicated at the highest level, but it is the same feeling,” he said.
He also shared tips on how to make it in the field, emphasizing the importance in believing in one’s capabilities and talent.
“Anything you do, you have to apply yourself. You have to do well. You have to do it with conviction …Disappear into another character, another psyche. If you do that time and time again, in different characters, in my opinion, that’s successful,” he said.
Elba also touched on his previous visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2018 as part of the Quality of Life program, when he announced his intention for his next movie to be “Saudi-made.”
“I didn’t have enough time to visit, but I found that Saudi was incredibly warm and welcoming to me, in a surprising way, if I’m honest. I wasn’t sure if
my work had ever resonated in Saudi. My trip was very quick and brief, but I found it very warm and welcoming,” he said.
“One day I will come to Saudi again and see everyone,” he added.
I was very surprised to understand that I have a following in Saudi. I’m very proud that I had this moment with you at this time.
Elba ended the talk by thanking Ithra for hosting him and the audience for tuning in. He promised to return to Saudi Arabia as soon as possible.
The talk in its entirety can be found on Ithra’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRbnaWDvIOs
Ithra Talks are designed to provoke insightful conversations and provide learning opportunities by connecting home-bound audiences with experts from around the world.
The series will continue next Saturday, June 20, with an appearance by renowned American astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The third session of the month, on June 27, will welcome leading international architect and Snøhetta Founding Partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, who will be joined by Head of the Ithra Advisory Group Fatmah Alrashid.