Idris Elba calls for better diversity in UK films in powerful essay

Idris Elba called for more diversity in UK film in a powerful essay exploring the importance of independent cinemas.

The star wrote for The Sunday Times and discussed the Black Lives Matter movement as well as his experiences in film.

He explained: ‘There are hundreds of independent cinemas like the Rio [cinema in Dalston] up and down the country. Many of them are lifelines for their communities, and now many of them are in real danger of going out of business at the very moment they should be opening their doors for the first time since March.’

He went onto say how he’s been part of four or five ‘moments of massive protest’ in his life but ‘this one’ is a lot different.

‘It feels as though it’s about an entire nation, and a nation finally acknowledging its diversity needs a diverse film culture – we have to protect it at the time we need it most,’ the 47-year-old penned.

‘…Four years ago I stood in parliament and gave a speech about the importance of on-screen diversity — and diversity of thought — in shaping the world.’

Idris continued: ‘Four years later I’ve seen the needle start to move. I’m encouraged to see companies, businesses, organisations, individuals change the way they feel about equality. But when things get tough, diversity often suffers, and we can’t lose the momentum and let things go backwards.’

The news comes after the director of 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen, said that the UK TV and film industries have to challenge the ‘blatant racism’ within itself.

Killing Eve star Sandra Oh even admitted that the UK is ‘behind’ when it comes to diversity on set.

She laughed while discussing the issue with Kerry Washington on Variety’s Actors on Actors series.

Asked how it feels to be the only Asian woman on set, she said: ‘Well, that I’m totally used to. Being the sole Asian person is a very familiar place for me.

‘The UK, I’m not afraid to say, is behind. I’m not only the only Asian person on set -sometimes it changes, very exciting when someone comes on set.

She continued: ‘The development of people behind the camera is very slow in the UK. I don’t know about the rest of Europe. Sometimes it would be me and 75 white people and I have not come from that.’

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