Idris Elba may not be the next James Bond — but he’s People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” this year.
“I was like, ‘Come on, no way. Really?” the British actor told People when he found out he was their pick. “Looked in the mirror, I checked myself out. I was like, ‘Yeah, you are kind of sexy today.’ But to be honest, it was just a nice feeling. It was a nice surprise — an ego boost for sure.”
Since his role as as drug kingpin Russell “Stringer” Bell on the HBO hit “The Wire,” Elba, 46, has become on of Hollywood’s hottest stars, racking up award nominations. He’s portrayed Nelson Mandela in the 2013 biographical film “Mandela Long Walk to Freedom” and has played a Norse God in Marvel’s “Thor” franchise.
When he’s not on the big screen, the British actor spins records under the name DJ Big Driis and designs his own clothing line.
But he wasn’t always a world-class hottie — Elba says he went through an awkward phase first.
Though he played football, basketball and cricket at his all-boys school in London, Elba, who is the only child of African immigrants, said he was a target of bullies.
“I was very tall and skinny,” said Elba, who is 6’3?. “And my name was Idrissa Akuna Elba, okay? I got picked on a little bit.”
“But again, as soon as I could grow a mustache, I was the coolest kid on the block,” he added. “Grew a mustache, had some muscles, bonkers.”
The dad of two — of 16-year-old daughter, Isan and 4-year-old son, Winston — said he strives to live with as few regrets as possible.
“Life isn’t about thinking about what you should have done,” he said. “I think everyone should adopt the philosophy that tomorrow is not promised so just go for it today. You might as well do it to your heart’s content.”
He’s currently planning a wedding to model Sabrina Dhowre, 29, who he proposed to in February. To make a connection, Elba said he’s learned the importance of “eye contact and empathy.”
“I love being confident, but also I know when to rein it in and just stay humble and grounded,” he said.
Last year’s winner was country star Blake Shelton and other awardees have included Channing Tatum, Adam Levine, Chris Hemsworth, David Beckham and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — with whom Elba is currently shooting a movie. Of course, it doesn’t always go smoothly after being named sexiest men alive, as the list of past awardees includes Mel Gibson, Nick Nolte and Johnny Depp.
This year’s pick was revealed on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Monday evening with Elba saying, “My mom is going to be very, very proud.”