An Exploration Of The Idris Elba Face

Idris Elba is a great actor who, in my opinion, doesn’t get as many roles as he deserves. I was one of the lazy people who took forever to watch “The Wire” and to put it simply, I really enjoyed the character of Stringer Bell. As a regular viewer of “The Office,” I also liked Elba as Charles Miner for his small arc of episodes, even though his character was just a really big jackass to everyone. In both of these shows, a certain facial expression Elba made stuck with me, because he uses it a lot. When someone says something dumb, Elba normally dishes this face out. It’s like saying “you stupid motherf*cker” without saying it at all. To avoid complexity, I call this phenomenon the Idris Elba Face, and of course, I have brought examples to help you learn what I’m talking about.

An average example of the Idris Elba Face. Note the slight tilt of the head as the eyebrows raise. While the Idris Elba Face is basic, there are nuances that make each one unique.
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When the Idris Elba Face utilizes the eyebrows, it’s a game-changer. It really drives home the incredulity of what was just said.
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When he’s got the glasses on, the Idris Elba Face is amplified by looking over them. It’s like he’s saying “Excuse me, you made me stop looking intellectual so I can let my ears be violated with the dumb sh-t that just passed out of your mouth?”
Here’s the Idris Elba Face with glasses, raised eyebrows and animation. Mild amusement.
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The top right box is fantastic. It turns out the Idris Elba Face existed since the very beginning of “The Wire.”
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Threw a curveball in here to keep you on your toes. This isn’t the Idris Elba Face, but just Elba posing for some photoshoot. The audience attracted to males will probably appreciate this one more.
This is some ideal Idris Elba Face right here. My goal is to get successful, have people work for me, then perfect this face so I can use it when they ask for things like “competitive wages” and “hazard-free working conditions.”
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There were plenty opportunities for the Idris Elba Face on “The Office.” This one involves a half-smirk, half-squint situation.
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Charles Minor hated dumb sh-t. Michael Scott was the main producer of dumb sh-t. That was basically the whole story arc involving Elba, and it provided many opportunities for the Idris Elba Face.
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Let’s just run through some of the emotions in this column of Idris Elba Faces from “The Office”: desperation, confusion, apathy, impatience, shock, disgust, aaaand contempt.
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Many great scenes from “The Wire” have usage of the Idris Elba Face. Starting around 0:25 of this clip, and as he continues to talk about a “40 degree day,” you can see it come into play. Then, at the end of the clip, there’s some intense Idris Elba Face after he realizes how much time he just wasted.
I will end this post not with one last Idris Elba Face, but with Elba holding a dog because this picture is too funny to leave out. Actually, it looks like this dog has its own Idris Elba Face going on. He must have learned from the best.
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Samer Kalaf is a writer living in New Hampshire. You can follow him on Twitter at @samer_k.

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