Idris Elba to Make Edgar Allan Poe an Action Hero

Stephen Chernin/AFP/Getty Images
Stephen Chernin/AFP/Getty Images

Idris Elba is about to bring a supernatural-fighting version of Edgar Allan Poe to screen. The British actor has reportedly optioned the rights to Olden’s historic thriller, Poe Must Die, with the intention of adapting it into an action-fantasy movie trilogy.

The story, first published in 1978, takes place against the crime- and squalor-filled backdrop of New York City in the 1840s. It depicts a fictionalized version of Poe, as a booze-addled man who’s turned to alcohol in order to ease his pain after the death of his wife. As he fights his personal demons, he meets renowned ex-bare knuckle fighter Pierce James Figg, who arrives to New York from London with a letter from Charles Dickens. The letter introduces Poe to Figg and asks for his help tracking down an evil psychic sorcerer named Jonathan, the man also responsible for murdering Poe’s wife. Poe and the boxer must then team up in a perilous mission to find the power-mad Jonathan and stop him from obtaining the Throne of Solomon, which will grant him immortality and dominion over the ultimate demonic forces.

According to Variety, Elba will produce the Poe Must Die series through his Green Door Productions banner, although there’s no other information regarding the project or when it will start filming. Though news of the project already has some suggesting that Elba would make a good Figg, it’s still unclear whether the actor actually plans on taking on a role in the intended trilogy in addition to producing or if he’ll stay behind the camera.

The project won’t be the first big screen adaptation of Olden’s work. Another of the author’s novels, Black Samurai, was made into a 1997 cult classic movie of the same name starring Jim Kelly.

Whether or not he chooses to take on a role in the developing trilogy, moviegoers can expect to see plenty of Elba over the next year. Poe Must Die is one of the latest in the Luther star’s long list of upcoming projects. The actor is producing and starring in Jim O’Hanlon’s indie drama A Hundred Streets and is leading the cast of the upcoming war drama, Beasts of No Nation. Also on his docket of upcoming films, The Gunman, an action thriller co-starring Sean Penn and Javier Bardem that’s due for release in March. He will also be reprising his role in Marvel’s highly anticipated Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron, and is reportedly lending his voice to characters in two different animated flicks: the tiger Shere Khan in Disney’s The Jungle Book and a new, still-undisclosed character in the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory, both of which are due for release in 2016.

And those are only the confirmed roles. Elba has long purported to be the top choice to become the next James Bond. The actor addressed the rumors on Twitter last month, posting a silly photo of himself and writing, “Isn’t 007 supposed to handsome? Glad you think I’ve got a shot!” Despite all of the speculation, his participation in the film has not yet been confirmed.

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