Damson Idris’s life on the speedway

He brought along mother was his co-star at the NAACP Awards in March, where he won outstanding lead actor in a drama series for the show’s final season. He beat out his heroes Forest Whitaker, Jesse L. Martin, and his mentor, Idris Elba. In his acceptance speech, he shared that his mother flew 17 hours from Lagos and before she got on the plane, she said, “Damson, if I’m going to Los Angeles, you should win.” The speech went viral, making her “the most famous woman in Nigeria right now.” As for Elba? “He tried to steal the trophy from me. He’s really my big brother.”

Another viral moment was when Denzel Washington was asked about Idris on the red carpet. He replied, “I don’t know who that is.” Looking back, Idris laughed, “I have work to do!” They have since met at a basketball game. “I introduced myself very shyly and he started tickling me. God willing, I will get to work with him one day.”

After meeting with Kosinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer found out he had the role while he was on vacation. “I got a call from Joe like, ‘Hey, do you want to be a Formula 1 driver?’ I was like, ‘I’m in Turks and Caicos right now, but I can leave now.’ Next thing you know, I was in London at Rockingham and practicing at Silverstone every day.”

Damson Idris wears Bode and Jacques Marie Mage sunglasses.

Clothes of Bode; sunglasses of Jacques Marie Mage.Photo by Nick Riley Bentham; Design by Jake Sammis.

Kosinski and Bruckheimer I knew Idris could act, but could he drive? “It was raining that day, I’ll never forget it. I was thinking, Oh my God, please don’t crash the car. One, because you’ll probably die, but two, more importantly, you won’t get the role.”

Working with Kosinski is a dream come true. “He is a director’s director. He is the epitome of cinema in my opinion. The feeling I feel when I walk out of Top Gun is how i felt when i was a kid and i watched and or Star Wars. Those movies are defined by one thing: entertainment. Everyone, no matter what your background, can come and see this movie.… His process is amazing.”

What about Pitt? “Talk about a superstar. His humility is unmatched. I don’t know if people know this, but he’s really good behind that car. Really good. Almost too good. He makes me worry about how good he is.”

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