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Blue Maqams

Idris Elba wants to play Thelonious Monk in a movie

Idris Elba wants to play Thelonious Monk in a movie

Actor Idris Elba has set his sights on playing one of his favourite musicians: pianist and composer Thelonious Monk.

The 43-year-old actor, who famously portrayed the late South African President Nelson Mandela in the 2013 biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, directed by Justin Chadwick, has told Mix Mag that “Thelonious Monk … was a legendary jazz musician. When jazz was popular in the early 50’s, [he] came along and just did something weird and everyone was like, ‘he’s a bit odd.’ He had mental health issues he didn’t realize he had for a long time, but he was an absolute genius because he just came in and broke all the rules.”

He also added: “I’m interested in the idea of someone battling mental health but being able to express himself with music. You know, the last ten years of his life, he never touched a piano again.”

This year is the centenary of Thelonious Monk’s birth. The pianist and composer was born on October 10, 1917.


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