Idris Elba has quipped that his ‘hardest role ever’ was being People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive back in 2018.

He set pulses racing with his People cover, flashing his winning smile while modeling a white t-shirt that hinted at his toned physique.

‘I said to the photographer: “I don’t always photograph great in pictures, this picture needs to be great,”‘ the 50-year-old told ET Canada.

The crew however replied: ‘No, no, no. We’ve done this a million times, we know how to do it,’ so Idris decided: ‘Ok, I’ll just be me.’

Looking back at the experience, he shared: ‘Then they do this sort of thing where they make your favorite camera angle work for the cover.’

By 2018, Idris was a global sex symbol, with fans constantly floating him as a possible choice to succeed Daniel Craig as James Bond.

‘I don’t presume that everyone knows who I am, even though I’ve been acting for a long time,’ he said modestly in his new interview.

‘When I look in the mirror, it’s just a guy that was trying to be an actor. So if I walk into a restaurant in the middle of Belgium, I’m not expecting everyone to recognize me.’

At the moment he is in the middle of a publicity blitz for a movie spin-off of his BBC show Luther, which helped elevate him to the stardom he enjoys today.

As he went about his media rounds he found himself facing a deluge of backlash for saying he no longer uses the tag ‘black actor.’

‘I stopped describing myself as a black actor when I realized it put me in a box,’ the Beasts Of No Nation actor explained to Esquire.

‘If we spent half the time not talking about the differences but the similarities between us, the entire planet would have a shift in the way we deal with each other.’

Idris argued: ‘As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.’

He went on: ‘Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure. Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: It’s just skin. Rant over.’

Despite being raked over the coals online, he refused to back down, rolling his eyes at being ‘thrown into some sort of bulls***, zeitgeisty social media argument.’

In an interview with the Guardian, he maintained: ‘Me saying I don’t like to call myself a black actor is my prerogative. That’s me, not you. So for you to turn around and say to me, I’m “denying my blackness.” On what grounds? Did you hear that? Where am I denying it? And what for? It’s just stupid. Whatever.’

‘There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not,’ he wrote on Twitter in a further defense of his beliefs.

‘Being an “actor” is a profession, like being an “architect” ,they are not defined by race. However, If YOU define your work by your race, that is your Perogative. Ah lie?’

In 2018 he was part of the string of celebrity guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, even showing off his DJ skills at the reception.

Idris dished to ET Canada that the best dancer at the party, ‘the one that was really letting it go,’ was the bride herself.

The Hollywood hunk, who said he was ‘good friends’ with the couple, remembered that ‘she just had a lot of fun. It was her wedding. So she had the greatest time.’

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