London Riots film director says it's a ‘real shame’ that black stars like Idris Elba are leaving UK

Amy Ashenden

The director of a new film based around the London Riots says it is a ‘real shame’ that so many black British actors are leaving the UK to work abroad.

Director Marcus Flemmings fears far too many, including Adam J Bernard - the lead in his new film Six Rounds - are forced to “go abroad and do the same thing Idris Elba has done”.

He told the Standard: “It’s a real shame because there’s a lot of British talent that’s leaving the shores, going abroad and having to forge a career that way.

“For me as a black filmmaker, it’s been hard to try and get myself out there.

“The lead actor, Adam J Bernard, I feel that he’s going to go abroad and do the same thing Idris Elba has done.

Actor Idris Elba recently worked in Canada (Sarah Dunn/BBC)

“He’s currently on stage in the West End in Dream Girls and he’s been nominated for an Olivier Award so he’s a really talented actor but I feel that he won’t get the opportunities here and he will leave.”

Elba has been working in Canada for his upcoming role in The Mountain Between Us.

Director Marcus Flemmings

A row over black British talent heading to the US erupted recently when Samuel L Jackson said: "We've got a lot of brothers here that need to work too." His comment was slammed by British actor John Boyega, who called the comments "a stupid a** conflict we don't have time for".

Six Rounds is set in 2011 against the backdrop of the London Riots and follows Stally – a former boxer who must choose between his past and a possible new future.

The main character is “a young, Afro-Caribbean male who used to live in ‘the hood’”.

Flemmings said: “He’s now progressed out of ‘the hood’, he now lives with a middle class Caucasian girlfriend and basically he’s trying to find a balance between his old life and his new life – whether he should go back into boxing and follow his dream, or if he should stray with his new life and his new partner and progress forward.

“The riots are taking place while he’s trying to make this big decision in his life. And because the riots are socio-economically based, it kind of affects his decisions in that sense, and a lot of his friends from his past life want to come back into his life.”

Flemmings said he was inspired by the mix of black and white alongside colour scenes in his favourite film, The Wizard of Oz.

He said: “The stuff in black and white is more grounded stuff so stuff that he’s going through where he’s making decisions, and quite dramatic parts of the film, whereas all the stuff in colour is more based around happiness and love. So there’s a colour code to his emotions.”

Six Rounds is out in the UK on April 9 and available on DVD.

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