But while fans may have thought the Thor: Ragnarok star was training for a new film or television role, it turns out he’s actually on the road to becoming a professional kickboxer.
On Tuesday, Elba announced his new role along with a new docu-series, Idris Elba: Fighter – which will follow a year in his kickboxing training journey across Britain, Cuba, Japan, South Africa and Thailand.
The show will also include his first no-holds-barred competition against a seasoned brawler.
“It has been a lifelong ambition of mine to fight professionally,” said Elba in a statement. “Entering the ring to further test myself as a human being is a challenge I have been looking to take on for quite some time.”
Elba spent much of his twenties training in kickboxing for recreational fitness. He has never fought professionally.
“This is no act,” the show’s press release says. “There is no script. This fight is real as are the potential repercussions.”
The show, produced by Shine North and Elba’s production company Green Door Pictures, will be broadcast on Discovery Networks International’s channels worldwide in early 2017.
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It promises to give audiences unprecedented access to Elba – who had been private about his life offscreen in the past – “showcasing what drives him, his aspirations in life and the challenges he wants to face and overcome.”