Idris Elba casts former Gladiator Mark 'Rhino' Smith in Yardie

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 7 July 2017
Mark 'Rhino' Smith

Mark 'Rhino' Smith

Hollywood star Idris Elba has cast former 'Gladiators' competitor Mark Smith in his new movie 'Yardie' about a Jamaican drug kingpin

Idris Elba has cast former 'Gladiators' Mark 'Rhino' Smith in his new movie 'Yardie'.

The 44-year-old 'Guerrilla' actor will be making his directorial debut on the project - which is based on the 1992 novel by Jamaican-born British writer Victor Headley of the same name - and picked 47-year-old muscleman Smith to be in the film after working with him on 2014 thriller 'No Good Deed'.

Smith - who shot to fame on the UK version of the sports challenge show and has had appearances in 'Batman Begins' and 'Argo' - is starring as drug kingpin Raggz and flew from Jamaica to his home in Los Angeles to pick up his family to then fly to London film his scenes.

He told the Daily Mail newspaper: "On Tuesday night, I was being directed by Idris and then my part was finished."

His character has to take responsibility of the drugs empire and Raggz has been described as "dangerous" and "likes to be armed" by the actor.

As well as working together on 'No Good Deed', the pair also both voiced characters in the Disney animation 'Zootopia' and Smith would love to reunite with 'Luther' star Elba again in the future.

Smith and Elba, who is also producing the film, will star alongside Aml Ameen, Stephen Graham and Jamaican newcomers Shantol Jackson, Sheldon Shepherd and Everaldo Creary in the upcoming movie.

The plot follows a young Jamaican man named 'D' who comes to London in the early 1980s and discovers the man who killed her brother a decade earlier.

His quest for justice causes a street war which puts himself and his loved ones in the middle and in peril.

The production will be co-financed by Studiocanal, the British Film Institute (BFI), BBC Films and Screen Yorkshire.

Robin Gutch, Gina Carter and Mark Herbert from Warp Films will be producing alongside Dan MacRae and Danny Perkins for Studiocanal; Mary Burke and Ben Roberts for the BFI, Joe Oppenheimer for BBC Films and Hugh Heppell for Screen Yorkshire.

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