Yardie (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

Who: Idris Elba, director

Logline: Jamaica, 1973. When a young boy witnesses his brother’s assassination, a powerful don gives him a home. Ten years later, he is sent on a mission to London. He reunites with his girlfriend and their daughter, but then the past catches up with them. Based on the novel by Victor Headley.

The weirdest or most difficult location we shot at was: on the top of the Blue Mountains, shooting the sunrise. We carried everything through the jungle, with biting insects and ants everywhere in the dark, but we got the shot.

The greatest flash of inspiration or brilliance we had making this film was: shooting in Rose Town, Kingston, a gangland neighborhood that ceased fire to allow us to shoot—essentially wanting peace in their neighborhood even for a couple of nights to allow us to film, which mirrored some of the themes of our movie.

The biggest lesson I learned making this movie was: to always make sure the writing is exactly where you want it to be, as there’s nothing worse than wanting the actor to say something that isn’t written! That is often the case, I’m told, by other directors.

The film I’m most excited about seeing at the festival this year: Paul Dano’s Wildife and Rupert Everett’s The Happy Prince—supporting my fellow actor/directors.

Idris Elba, director of Yardie, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Photograph courtesy of Sundance Institute

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