Tonight was the UK premiere of new Yardie at the BFI Southbank. Marking Idris Elba’s directorial debut, the film is based on novel of the same name by Victor Headley which saw cult success after its release in the 90s. Charting the story of young D, played by Aml Ameen, the film takes us from 80s Kingston Jamaica to North London, where Elba himself grew up, and follows the challenges he must face to choose the right future path through a world of guns, drugs and violence.

We were there on the red carpet to speak to cast and crew ahead of the premiere about making the film and working with the man and driving force behind the project, Idris Elba. And of course whether or not he should get his chance to be the next 007 after tweeting “Elba, Idris Elba.”

Shantol Jackson told us about her character Yvonne and how she worked with Elba to ensure the authenticity of the film through her knowledge of Jamaica, down to the dialogue, accents and mannerisms of the cast.

Everaldo Creary who plays Jerry Dead explained the importance of portraying Jamaica and Jamaican culture in London on the big screen and his experience of working with Idris Elba.

We spoke with director Elba at a recent screening and he told us about why he wanted to make the film, the themes he thinks that emerge from the story and his experience of being on the other side of the camera.

At the same event, Aml Ameen explained the process he went through to prepare for the role of “D”, including spending time in Jamaica, what it was like to collaborate with Elba as a director and what he will take away from the experience.

Sheldon Shepherd chatted to us about his character King Fox and the themes the film explores of ethnicity and identity.

Akin Gazi, who plays Arif, explained how excited he was to see so many people of colour in a single film, and is Elba wasn’t up for playing James Bond he would happily stand in: “time for Turkish Bond I think.”

Duramaney Kamara told us about his character Darkers and how his experience of being a musician in real life helped him in his role.

Adnan Mustafa spoke of his role as Engin and his experience of working with Elba, both a talented actor and director.

Young Myle-Rae Hutchinson-Dunwell stopped to speak about her character Vanessa and her dream to make the big time when she’s older.

Screenwriter Brock Norman Brock explained his process and challenges of adapting the cult novel, much of which was written in patois. Martin Stellman also explained his role in turning the book into a screenplay.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 21st August 2018.
Videos: Filippo L’Astorina / Marta Starczynowska

Yardie is released nationwide on 31st August 2018.

Watch the premiere arrivals and photocall here:

Watch the trailer for Yardie here: