He may be a former “Sexiest Man Alive,” but never forget that Idris Elba is for the children. HarperCollins certainly hasn’t missed the memo, announcing on Monday that the Golden Globe and SAG Award-winning actor, musician, filmmaker, activist, and father of two has signed a global multi-book deal with the publisher to produce “a range of children’s books launching in 2022.”
Details, per a press release provided to The Root:
In a major UK/US co-publication deal, world rights were acquired by Ann-Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher, HCCB UK, and Suzanne Murphy, President and Publisher, HCCB US, from Crystal Mahey-Morgan at OWN IT! Entertainment Ltd.
Publishing will include picture books and fiction featuring a character and world imagined and developed by Idris and his writing partner Robyn Charteris, who has written numerous live-action drama, pre-school and animation programmes for BBC, Channel 4, the Jim Henson Company and Endemol as well as educational theatre for schools.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to bring stories inspired by my daughter [Isan Elba] to life with my incredible partner Robyn Charteris, and the powerhouse team at HarperCollins,” said Elba in a statement.
“Idris Elba is one of the most iconic and multi-talented creatives of his generation and I am delighted that he is joining the HarperCollins Children’s Books list,” said executive publisher HCCB UK, Ann-Janine Murtagh. “From the outset, Idris had a very clear vision of the characters and stories he has imagined, and is passionate about creating books that will appeal to all children...I feel privileged that Idris has entrusted us to bring his stories to life and I cannot wait to share them with children across the globe.”
Given Elba’s longtime penchant for darker, even sinister acting roles, we can’t even begin to imagine what he imagines for the children’s market (Beasts of No Nation messed with us for a while). And after seeing him in costume as “Macavity” for the ill-fated Cats adaptation, something perversely Seussian inevitably comes to mind. That said, Elba likely won’t be abandoning his adult audience anytime soon; he’s also hinted that a full-length film adaptation of his hit BBC series Luther may soon become a reality.
“Idris Elba is a creative force, who has many wonderful stories to tell,” President and Publisher HCCB US Suzanne Murphy said. “We are honored to be working with him and with Robyn Charteris to bring Idris’s rich and imaginative storytelling to the world of children’s books, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the HarperCollins family.”