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Idris Elba's accent was so bad in series that they had to dub over it

Gregory Robinson

| Last updated 

Idris Elba's accent was so bad in series that they had to dub over it

Idris Elba has found huge success on both sides of the Atlantic in an array of British and American roles. While he is now praised for his convincing American accent, that hasn't always been the case. Watch the clip below:


The Golden Globe and NAACP award-winning star, who turns 50 today (6 September), revealed in an interview on The Graham Norton Show in 2018 that his American accent was so bad it had to be dubbed.

Before starring in acclaimed TV series and films like Luther, The Wire and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Idris had a small part in the 1994 British cop series Space Precinct.


Elba told the audience how he had heard that a clip of his episode, titled Double Duty, had appeared on YouTube and after finding it, he wanted to clarify what happened to his voice.

"They dubbed my voice," he shared with the audience and guests Kate Winslet and Chris Rock. "It's not me."

Rock then joked: "It's actually me!"

Idris Elba's American accent wasn't always good. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo.
Idris Elba's American accent wasn't always good. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo.

It turns out Elba wasn't too pleased with the unknown voice actor's American accent that was used to replace his own.

"Whoever it was didn't even do a good American accent either," he joked.

After watching the short scene, it's definitely clear why Elba wasn't happy with his replacement.

Teasing the clip, Norton said: "This is Idris, but very subtly, and it's beautifully done the dubbing - you may not even notice that it's not Idris speaking."


The Thor actor only has a short scene as an intergalactic space pizza delivery guy and the caricature American voice dubbed over Elba's own is hard to miss.

In recent weeks the east London native has been busy promoting his new film Beast which made headlines after he revealed his daughter failed to land a role in the feature.

Isan Elba, 20, auditioned to play the daughter of Elba's character, however she didn't get the part. She was so unimpressed she stopped speaking to her dad for nearly a month.

Credit: BBC/Grove Television Enterprises.
Credit: BBC/Grove Television Enterprises.

Speaking to iHeart Radio’s morning show The Breakfast Club last month, Elba clarified that he thought his daughter’s audition was great but was not the right fit for the film.

"The relationship in the film and the relationship between my daughter was, the chemistry wasn’t right for the film. Weirdly enough," Elba told the radio show.

Elba went on to add that his daughter 'didn’t talk to [him] for about three weeks' when she got the phone call from movie producer Will Packer to confirm that she didn’t land the part. 

We hope the audition didn't ask for an American accent...

Featured Image Credit: BBC Paul Treadway/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: TV and Film, Idris Elba

Gregory Robinson
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