Idris Elba is the New Alex Cross

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

There have been rumblings concerning a reboot of the Alex Cross franchise for quite some time. Cross, an adaptation of James Patterson’s latest book in the series, seemed like an ideal way to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Now, the project seems to be picking up serious momentum by signing a star and a director.

According to Deadline, Idris Elba (The Wire, The Losers) will take over the role originally played by Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. David Twohy (Pitch Black, Riddick 3) will direct and rewrite a script by Kerry Williamson.

Unlike the previous two films, Cross will be privately financed and production is scheduled to begin in the spring of next year. Elba’s career has taken off considerably in the last few years and a high-profile project with franchise potential like this should solidify his reputation as a future A-lister. He can next be seen in Takers which opens August 27th, but comic book fans will soon know him best as Heimdall in Thor.

Fans of the books know that Freeman, as skilled as he is, was always a little too old for the part and that Elba is a much closer match to the way Patterson describes Alex Cross. His quite intensity is a perfect fit for the character, especially the way he’s portrayed in Cross.

In the novel, Alex Cross is ready to forego hunting down serial killers in favor of spending more time with his three kids. Of course that wouldn’t make for a terribly interesting story, so before you can say “inciting incident,” Cross’s old partner shows up and asks for his help on a case.

A serial rapist targeting Georgetown coeds winds up having ties to the unsolved murder of Cross’ wife and after that realization, things begin to get interesting. The main antagonist, dubbed “the Butcher of Sligo”, is easily one of the most reprehensible characters Patterson has ever created – the flashback that opens the novel is particularly disturbing.

While it took twelve books and thirteen years for Alex Cross to confront the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death, the payoff wasn’t quite on par with the build-up. In my opinion, Cross is one of the weaker books in the series – and ironically enough, probably one of the entries most suited for a film adaptation.

cross book cover Idris Elba is the New Alex Cross

While Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider had a few great moments between them, they still felt like were missing half of the story (if you’re a fan of the books). Cross, on the other hand, favors delirious violence over character development, which I think leaves plenty of room for the filmmakers to not only hit all of the major plot points, but also expand upon the material as well.

I’m curious as to how this will work as the beginning of a new series, especially if they plan on adapting previous novels for potential sequels. Cross’ frustration over not finding his wife’s killer is such an important part of his character – when you think about it like that, using Cross as the first installment in a franchise (rather than as its climax) is a bold move.

A lot of great books turn into mediocre movies. Cross is a mediocre book capable of becoming a great film. Here’s hoping that casting Idris Elba in the lead role is the first of many inspired decisions on the part of the filmmakers.

Source: Deadline.

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  1. I’ve been waiting for them to reboot this franchise for so long! They butchered Along Came A Spider. I think Idris Elba could be really good. I found Cross kinda disturbing though so I never finished reading it. For some reason reading about murder doesn’t bother me, but I feel really uncomfortable reading about rape.

  2. Wish they would go back further in the books… The Big Bad Wolf (to see him start with the FBI — my favorite part of the series) or even further back to Roses are Red to establish Kyle Craig’s place in the stories. As books go, the most recent have been the most boring for stories, but as mentioned, maybe they will make great movies. ALex Cross’s trial would make the best movie yet (albeit Alex wouldn’t be a very big part.)

    • Big Bad Wolf was the first one I read. I had no interest in the series but I borrowed the book on a plane ride and thought it was incredibly entertaining. They’re definitely fun, guilty pleasures of mine.

      BBW would be an excellent start to a new series of films. I understand that Cross has a more dramatic character arc in the most recent novel, but like I mentioned in the article- I just wonder how it’s going to change his personality/motivation/etc. in future films.

      I don’t know how I’ve never considered Elba before. That’s spot-on casting.

      • I’m looking forward to seeing any movies based on Alex Cross. Patterson’s writing for the books lately seem almost intentionally geared towards being setup as screenplays. Even more interesting will be seeing Elba’s portrayal. I’ve heard the cries for so long to have Denzel play Cross, and I’ve just never quite bought into it (Like Andrew D. below)… too much himself in everything.

        I wonder how they’ll incorporate Kyle Craig… he’s basically Cross’s Moriarty (and in the books was incarcerated in Florence ADX Supermax, which is literally a mile down the road from me :-) ). I hate to see them skip over that part of Cross’s life.

  3. Wow. As a huge fan of the books years ago, I was super excited to see Kiss the Girls be made into a film, but Morgan Freeman being cast never sat well with me because he frankly, was just to old.

    At the time, I’d thought that Denzel Washington would have been the right fit, but just didn’t seem like Alex Cross to me. Without even realizing it, Idris Elba has come out of nowhere and shows that he would fit the mold better than most people i could think of.

    Hope this one is good on its own, not just riding Patterson’s fame (Along Came a Spider).

  4. IDRIS ELBA FOR LUKE CAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I loved four blind mice I hope they turn that one in to a movie it was beyond great

  6. he is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its jus rediculous on how sexy he is.

    • Yes,it is an out dated article and sad to say Idris Elba will not be Alex Cross. He would have been a perfect follow up to Morgan Freeman’s Cross. I do not see how Tyler Perry can be a credibile Cross. He just does not fit the “picture” that is created of Cross in the books.Will not be wasting my time on this Alex Cross movie.