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The ‘Luther’ movie – everything you need to know about the new Netflix thriller

Idris Elba’s London crime thriller is getting a big-screen outing

Jon Hornbuckle
Written by
Jon Hornbuckle

‘Oi… Looooooooofaaa!’ That’s the sound of someone calling ‘action’ on a new movie spin-off of Idris Elba’s BBC crime series, Luther.

It’s yet another project in the pipeline for the Londoner, now quite possibly the busiest man in Hollywood. With two movies currently in cinemas (Beast, Three Thousand Years of Longing), the actor/DJ/businessman/podcaster/mogul is picking up the Met Police badge again for this big-screen thriller. 

The movie version of Luther has been rumoured since the show launched in 2010, but now filming has wrapped and fans won’t have long to wait until the return of the suave, zero-BS London detective.

Here’s all you need to know about the Luther movie.

When is the Luther movie released and what platform will it be on?

The upcoming Luther movie will be released in 2023, with an exact date yet to be announced.

It’s confirmed that the Luther movie will be arriving on Netflix – the streaming platform is producing the project – although it remains to be seen if it will also be getting a cinema release.

Who is in the cast of the Luther movie?

Idris Elba is back as the titular detective, DCI John Luther, a cop whose murder investigations always lead him into dark and difficult terrain. Often, sociopathic nemesis, Alice Morgan (The Affair’s Ruth Wilson), is close by – the Moriarty to Luther’s Holmes.

Widows’ Cynthia Erivo and The Batman’s Andy Serkis are both bringing their big-city crime thriller experience to bear in so-far undisclosed roles. The Hollywood Reporter claims that Erivo is ‘playing a detective who is also Luther’s nemesis’, while Serkis ‘is the story’s criminal villain’.

Singer and Broadway star Erivo’s movie credits also include Harriet, Disney’s recent Pinocchio live-action remake, and an upcoming film adaptation of hit musical Wicked.

Serkis is best known for his motion capture and voice acting work, with roles as the titular ape in the 2005 King Kong remake and as Gollum in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He’s also appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaue, and the DC Universe as butler Alfred Pennyworth in The Batman.

It’s directed by Jamie Payne, a veteran of the TV series.

Cynthia Erivo
Photograph: Courtesy of the artistCynthia Erivo is joining the cast of Luther

What will the Luther movie be about – and what’s the story so far?

Elba has teased that the movie will be more ‘international’ than the TV series. ‘I’m really excited for Luther the movie because it’s a step up from the TV show,’ he told UK breakfast show This Morning. ‘The TV show is incredible [and] fans will hopefully come over to the movie, which just has a lot more scale and is a bit more international.’ 

What we do know is that the movie’s enhanced budget will mean bigger action scenes, more scale, and the strong possibility that, at some point, Idris Elba will walk away from a massive explosion. 

‘Having delivered every episode of Luther on budgets which are comically small, [we’ve been able] to have a wider canvas and a bigger budget to tell the kind of stories that we’ve always wanted to be able to tell,’ screenwriter and Luther creator Neil Cross told in 2021. ‘And we’ve really been given the opportunity – while staying entirely true.’

‘We really peel the onion back here because we had the time and scale to do that,’ Elba recently told Empire magazine. ‘It also gives (screenwriter) Neil [Cross] a lot more, you know, Luther-land to play with, in terms of where Luther can go, how he goes, what the landscape is.’  

Judging by these first-look stills from the movie, Luther-land won’t just be the mean streets of London but snowier, colder climes too. ‘We break out of the gritty streets of London, we take it outside of that a little bit,’ adds Elba. ‘And that’s great. It feels like now we’re entering a different life of the Luther experience.’

Photograph: Netflix

But don’t expect too much deviation from the knotty procedural formula of the BBC series. ‘I wanted to make sure that even though we had a bigger budget, [we didn’t] distort the parameters of Luther-land too much,’ says Elba. ‘We do amplify the action and do amplify the stakes. But [Season 3’s] man-under-the-bed moment? That don’t cost you much money. Those moments are still intact.’

And, as the actor-producer stresses, while the scale is bigger, the man himself ain’t changing. ‘Obviously, you can be a little bit more bold in the storylines and up the scale,’ he says, ‘but John Luther is always going to be John Luther.’

Where was the Luther movie filmed?

Filming for the upcoming Luther movie took place in London and Brussels. 

Elba has shared behind-the-scenes pics from the set, tweeting snaps from the first day of filming last November.

During that This Morning interview, he confirmed that filming has now wrapped and that the film is now in post-production.

Idris Elba failed a chemistry screen test with his own daughter.

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