Idris Elba is helping Maxim “Man Up” and make history.
The British actor headlines the magazine’s September issue, marking the first time a male celebrity has ever been featured on its front cover alone.
Idris Elba (Maxim)
“We’ve never in U.S. Maxim history had a man on the cover solo,” the mag’s new editor-in-chief Kate Lanphear told Racked. “This is the very first time, and there was no one else in the world more badass than Idris.”
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Since first launching in the UK in 1995, Maxim has become a go-to brand for trendy young men. Best known for photo spreads of scantily clad women and recurring features like its annual “Hot 100” list, the magazine is now reforumulating under Lanphear’s direction to include more high-end fashion and lifestyle tips.
Elba, she said, is the perfect example of the well-rounded, sophisticated and modern masculinity the new Maxim wants to project.
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“He’s multi-dimensional, he’s complex, he’s sophisticated, but he’s down to earth. It was funny when on set, I was like, ‘Is there anything this guy can’t do?'” Lanphear said. “He’s an award-winning actor, he’s a DJ, his capsule clothing line for Superdry is about to hit stores. The guy broke the [British] land speed record, which hasn’t been touched since like 1928. He’s sort of a living, breathing superhero.”
“I think he’s grown up with the magazine,” she added.
Elba himself also discussed the importance of maintaining a multi-faceted image, and told the mag that’s why he’s approaching those James Bond rumors carefully.
“I just don’t want to be called the first black James Bond. Do you understand what I’m saying?” the Golden Globe-winner said. “Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond. So if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.”
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Despite his reluctance, the “Luther” star did admit that fans’ enthusiasm for the idea could have a potential impact.
“Honestly, it’s one of those things that if it should happen, it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said. “It would be the will of a nation.”
— Erin Biglow
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