“Workaholic” Idris Elba talks Hollywood strikes and tackling “unhealthy habits” through therapy

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Actor, recording artist and producer Idris Elba had a wide-ranging discussion on the Changes with Annie Macmanus podcast earlier this week, in which he touched on his childhood, fatherhood, the Hollywood strikes and why he found himself in therapy.

“It’s not because I don’t like myself or anything like that,” the 51-year-old Luther star says. “It’s just that I have some unhealthy habits that I’ve just really formed and they, you know, I work in an industry that I’m rewarded for those unhealthy habits.”

Idris added, “I’m an absolute workaholic. And that isn’t great for life generally … but I’m rewarded massively to be a workaholic, to [be] someone that can go, ‘Oh, I’m not going see my family for six months.’ I’m in there grinding and making new family and then leave them.”

The performer expresses, “I’ve got to adjust. Got to adjust.”

However, Idris admits, “The thing is that the things that make me relaxed end up being work,” adding, “I could have worked 10 days on a film, underwater sequences holding my breath for 6 minutes and come back and sit here [relaxed] more so than sitting on the sofa watching TV with the family, which is bad, right?”

Elba adds that’s what he needs to adjust in his life. “Can’t be all work,” he says.

Regarding the studios’ treatment that prompted the Hollywood strikes, Idris called it a tragedy, adding of acting, “Yes, it is a living, but we do it from our souls. When you and I give our souls to the work that we do, it’s not like punching a bunch of numbers in a calculator, you’re giving a part of yourself and that should be sacred and treasured and remunerated properly.”

Elba underlined, “And that’s why we’re striking.”

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