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Idris Elba Discusses His New Series “Hijack”

Written by on July 7, 2023

As part of a roundtable discussion with the African American Film Critics Association, Reggie Ponder virtually sat down with Idris Elba to talk about his new Apple TV+ miniseries “Hijack.

Idris Elba takes on the role of Sam Nelson in “Hijack,” the captivating Apple TV+ mini-series created by George Kay and Jim Field Smith. On a flight from Dubai to London, Sam, a skilled corporate negotiator, finds himself experiencing the unimaginable: an unexpected hijacking. Now, Sam must draw upon his negotiation expertise and unite with his fellow passengers against the hijackers before it’s too late.

In a thought-provoking roundtable discussion, Elba and Reggie “The Reel Critic” Ponder delve into the significance of the other passengers’ roles in the story, and the profound symbolism they represent.

“Hijack” premiered on June 28 exclusively on Apple TV+. The seven-episode series  is set to conclude on August 2. Catch a glimpse of Reggie’s insightful conversation with Idris Elba in an excerpt from the virtual roundtable, hosted by the African-American Film Critics Association, available on Spotify. Stream the full discussion on YouTube below.

Reggie Ponder: This is Reggie Ponder, The Reel Critic. I got a chance to speak with Idris Elba about his new Apple TV+ series “Hijack.” Elba plays Sam, who is a corporate negotiator. When his plane is hijacked, he thinks he has the skills and abilities to help, but he is playing in a whole new realm. The series require Sam to work with the other people on the plane, and I asked him about those other people, those characters. Here’s an excerpt from my interview.

I want to know, did you know these characters? Not just … Sam, but there were so many things happening on the plane. Did you feel like you knew who these people were? Or even you were kind of surprised as you read this, and it developed? So you got the young people, the three young girls who were sitting together, you got the guy that you’re sitting next to. Did you feel like you kind of knew these people, or did it unfold in a way that you said, “Wow, I like this.” 

Idris Elba: Yeah, you know, the scripts weren’t written at the time I came on. But as we unpacked the idea, I was really drawn to the idea that, you’re going to look at someone and cast an aspiration on who they are and … how they might fit into this hijacking. But it turns out to be the opposite of that. And I was really drawn to that. And the more that we were drawn to that, the more fun we had with it. The airplane company in “Hijack” is called Kingdom. And “Kingdom” was the name of the project as we worked on it. We didn’t call it “Hijack,” we called it “Kingdom” for a long time. 

But it was also “Kingdom” as in the United Kingdom, okay? And the United Kingdom, for a long time, has had this odd diversity, you know, different. You come to London, I mean, if any of you have been to London, London is just a big melting pot.

And you could turn around and look, but you really can’t say who’s into what in London. It’s a bit like New York. But even in New York, you’ve got certain areas dedicated to certain cultures. But in England, for the most part – in London, for the most part, it’s a big melting pot. And so when we looked at the plane, we sort of said, “Well, this is representation of the United Kingdom.” And you’re going to see different cultures on here, but you can’t pinpoint who’s who and what they’re about. And that was really important to us.

Check out more reviews and interviews from Reggie Ponder here, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram

“The Reel Critic” is hosted and produced by Reggie Ponder

Introduction written by Omi Salisbury

Transcription and editing for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca

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