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Idris Elba’s open casting in Hackney had to be shut down by police

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Matt Tate
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Guess what? Spontaneous casting calls issued by Idris Elba get a pretty big reaction. 

Over the weekend the Luther actor took to Instagram to tell fans he was looking for paid extras to appear in a new film he’s directing. 

The as-yet-untitled movie is set in 1983 in Hackney’s Afro-Caribbean community, as detailed in the post. Elba, who was born in the borough, said anyone was welcome to turn up within a 5-hour period, and encouraged wearing eighties-style clothing. 

 

Even a small part is a start.

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Turns out east London very much got the memo. Hundreds of people queued for hours at Whitmore Community Centre in Haggerston, some of them sharing pictures of the crowds on social media. 

The response was so crazy that it was eventually deemed to be a health and safety concern. The Hackney Citizen reported that about two hours into the casting a staff member called the police, and eventually the decision was taken to shut it down.

Elba once again posted to his Instagram page, this time thanking everyone who attended and repeating what the police had advised. “Send a headshot of yourself and a little bit of information to info@keycasting.co.uk and we will look at everyone for my film and others,” he added. 

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Still, a lot of people seemed to enjoy themselves. Opportunities like that don’t tend to come up very often. 

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Matt Tate

Matt Tate is a freelance journalist

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