We're a mere three weeks out from the fifth series of Luther, which promises to be a fecund garden of nightmares if the trailer's anything to go by. But while a legion of fans feverishly await the season premiere, which will land on BBC One on New Year's Day, it turns out its star didn't actually have the best time filming the show. Speaking to the Radio Times, Idris Elba said filming Luther is "depressing" — and frankly, given the brutal subject matter, can you blame him?
"It’s a tough show to make; it’s not fun making Luther," Elba told the magazine, explaining, "It’s very gruelling. Tough, long hours and obviously because of the nature of the type of show it is, it deals with murder, it’s depressing if I’m honest. But it’s a good bit of drama and the fans really love it."
A quick glimpse at the series five trailer demonstrates Elba's point. Blood abounds, a masked killer stalks helpless victims, and a certain scene on a bus has ensured I'll never set foot on an isolated top deck again. Not the easiest visuals to shake out of your mind when you step off the TV set, I'd imagine.
The filming season can't help, either — according to Elba, Luther is always shot in the autumn and winter, in order to truly encapsulate its bleak tone. "We don’t make Luther in the summer. We’re on holiday having a good time, we don’t want to make it then!" he said. "You want to make it when it’s cold; it sets the mood and the feeling for the type of show it is."
In fact, the titular detective has something in common with another brooding superhero: John Luther is Batman, Elba said, "but without the mask and the funny ears." "London becomes Gotham City, the bad guys become the Joker,” he added. “And here is this crusader character who rolls in in his Volvo. It’s not a Batmobile but it has those characteristics, so when I put the coat on I feel like I’m playing a superhero to some degree."
And what better platform for a superhero than his very own film? That's what's next for Luther, Elba told the magazine. "I don’t think we’re going to do too many TV versions of it; I think the next step is to make a film," he said. Elba and writer Neil Cross already have "a skeleton of an idea," for a big-screen adaptation, he added. "I’m not allowed to say too much but I can say that this season has the film very much in its sights. If there is a film, then it will be somehow connected to this season."
It sounds like series five, comprising four episodes, is going to be a pretty big one, then; it'll star faces old and new, with the return of Ruth Wilson's Alice Morgan and the introduction of Wunmi Mosaku's D.S. Catherine Halliday. One quick question: if Luther transfers to the big screen, how am I supposed to hide under the duvet?