06 September 2021 995 Views

Michael Keaton. Idris Elba. Only Fools and Horses. What is the Connection?

by James Murphy

Prima Facie? Nothing. Second look? Birthdays! Keaton = 70. Idris = 49. Fools n Horses = 40.

 

 

 

But it’s SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST NUMBERS AND BIRTHDAYS. Allow me to explain..

  • Keaton and Elba are model craftspeople. They act in a prolific. polished, professional manner, always. Versatility is their thing. Stick them in any genre and you get gold. So, Happy Birthday to two inspirational actors.
  • Do they have weaknesses? Course. Idris cannot ‘do’ improv comedy. Keaton still has a BIT of a chip on his shoulder imho and that cost him a solid decade of mainstream commercial success despite his now making up for that in spades. But that aside, both are committed to what they do.
  • They experiment, diversify, merging movie star presence to character actor credentials. Tough, too. Idris is not a guy you want to fight. Keaton, though by no means the force of nature Batman presented by Bale /Affleck, is a real life sports enthusiast and he made audiences believe that his Bruce Wayne was at once sufficiently good in a fight yet lacking enough in bulk confidence to have to don the lunacy of a Bat-suit.

 

    • Keaton and Idris are menacing bad guys. The Wire has Stringer Bell: Idris at his baddest best. Keaton in Pacific Heights is a master-class in onscreen villainy. At the same time? They transfer that textured style to the  good guy parts. Keaton is quite well dressed even when playing an everyman. Idris does not wear costumes. They wear HIM.

  • I could go on just listing both actors’ CV highlights but you know them already. Instead? I will jump to the ‘FOOLS AND HORSES link.

ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES is a British sitcom, though there were attempts at transferring the idiom to the USA, it is best kept over here. It was an ensemble comedy with occasional shades of drama, verging on the kitchen sink /soap operatic towards its end.

David Jason played Del-boy: a wheeler dealer wannabe businessman whose luck varied between adventures. It was a laugh a second and though rooted in a gritty survival struggle of escaping poverty, always touched a human condition truth which transcended class. As in : you could take the Del character and make him white collar. Provided you retained the chancer tendencies and emotional blackmail as a weapon, you still have basically the same timeless story.

It’s why I love that show so much. Same reason I love the works of Idris and Keaton:

EXCELLENCE, CRAFT: thereby capturing the human condition.

If you MUST connect these threads more specifically? LUTHER is Idris’ signature role and often harnesses a similar location aesthetic to Del Boy, albeit for murder-mystery/drama rather than comedy. Also, Keaton as Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing is priceless comedy, fusing accidental malapropos to genuine advancement of the plot and motifs Shakespeare was stressing. As in, Dogberry = a Shakespearean, proto Del Boy? Maybe. 🙂 

So: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Idris, Keaton and Only Fools. Inspirational, one and all! 



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