Mark Smith praises 'real' star Idris Elba

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

Mark 'Rhino' Smith

Former 'Gladiators' star Mark 'Rhino' Smith has said the TV show changed his life and said close friend Idris Elba knows what he wants from a scene while filming 'Yardie'

Former 'Gladiators' star Mark 'Rhino' Smith says Idris Elba is one of the most "real" actors around.

The 47-year-old muscle man - who shot to fame on the UK version of the sports challenge show and has made appearances in 'Batman Begins' and 'Argo' - is starring as drug kingpin Raggz in Elba's new movie 'Yardie', and Smith says Elba, despite being a huge star, is "very humble" and relatable.

Speaking to The Sun Online, Smith said: "He's very real, natural and just very grounded and humble. It's a very relaxed environment he conducts himself in. The whole set is very cool. He knows what he's looking for and how he wants the scene to pan out. He has that vision."

Shooting to fame on 'Gladiators' on ITV in the mid-90s, Smith admits the show completely changed his life and he was thrilled when he was first stopped in public and asked for an autograph.

He said: "It was a gamechanger for me. 'Gladiators' changed my life. I remember the first time I was on it. At 7.45pm 'Blind Date' was just about to come on and I went to the supermarket and then I kind of got rushed by a big crowd and everyone's asking for my autograph and said, 'We just saw you on TV.' I loved it. I signed everyone's autograph, took pictures with the kids. I've always been like that all my life. I know for a fact I've gone through over 90,000 signed cards in the UK."

'Yardie' is Elba's directorial debut which is based on the 1992 novel by Jamaican-born British writer Victor Headley of the same name - and the 'Luther' star picked Smith to be in the film after working with him on 2014 thriller 'No Good Deed' and Disney animation 'Zootopia' in 2016.

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.

Smith also confirmed he will be reprising his role of Officer McHorn in the 'Zootopia' sequel.