The Star Trek franchise is celebrating its 50th birthday this year with the movie Star Trek Beyond, the third in J.J. Abrams' rebooted saga. One of the new cast members this time around is Idris Elba, who plays the enigmatic villain Krall. 

Chris Pine in Star Trek BeyondChris Pine also stars in Star Trek Beyond

Elba remembers watching the original 1966 TV series with his parents while growing up. "It was great to see a great diverse cast on TV, even before we knew what that was," he says. "But it was very interesting to hear a Scotsman, a black woman, an Asian all in one TV show, flying around space. That was pretty out there."

So he didn't hesitate to sign up to play the baddie in this new movie. "I think Star Trek has prided themselves as being quite classic when it comes to villains," Elba says. "Krall is a guy who wants to end the world, there's no doubt about that. But there's a slightly different twist to that. You've never seen me play a character like this."

More: Read our review of 'Star Trek Beyond'

To get into the role, Elba spent more than three hours each day having layers of make-up and prosthetics applied. And then he needed to change the way he spoke. "English was perhaps his first language," he explains, "then he learned another language, and then he had to redesign his brain to speak English again so we had to think about how the voice was going to work."

And he also had to wrap his head around Krall's motives. "Krall is deeply steeped in hatred," Elba says. "In my opinion, it's a well-earned hatred for the Federation. It's quite political, and there's a relatability to what's happening in our world: not everybody's happy with what everybody calls the good guys. But watching the Enterprise crash and burn, I felt like I was destroying a legacy!"

Watch the trailer for 'Star Trek Beyond' here:


Looking forward, Elba continues to quash the ongoing rumours that he's being considered to play James Bond. "I mean, look, I've said it a million of times," he says. "It's a great character and it's an honour to be asked, but it is just a rumour." 

He's probably too busy to play Bond, as he's currently filming both Thor: Ragnarok and Stephen King's The Dark Tower, then starring opposite Kate Winslet in the survival romance The Mountain Between Us and opposite Jessica Chastain in Aaron Sorkin's poker drama Molly's Game. He also plans to make his feature directing debut with the London drug-dealer thriller Yardie.