Marking the directorial debut of Idris Elba, Yardie hits cinemas this weekend and to celebrate that very fact, we sat down with the film’s leading two stars, Aml Ameen and Shantol Jackson.

Ameen begins by discussing the humanisation of gangsters and why feels this project reminded him of films like Goodfellas. He also praises the talents of Elba from behind the lens – which is a sentiment echoed by Jackson, who also admits that when she first auditioned for the role she had no idea the acting giant was on directing duty.

Ameen, who is a Londoner, speaks about the profound and relevant aspect to this film born out of the recent political scandal concerning the Windrush generation, and why he feels this film is a true celebration of the English capital, and the multiculturalism that exists in London.

Meanwhile, Jackson talks up the benefits of texting Ameen during the shoot in character, and on the struggles of breaking into the film industry as a Jamaican actress. Finally, to coincide with the Notting Hill Carnival – which took place last weekend – we ask the duo of their favourite carnival tune.

Watch the full interviews here:


Set in ’70s Kingston and ’80s Hackney, Yardie centres on the life of a young Jamaican man named D (Aml Ameen), who has never fully recovered from the murder, committed during his childhood, of his older brother Jerry Dread (Everaldo Creary). D grows up under the wing of a Kingston Don and music producer named King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd). Fox dispatches him to London, where he reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, Yvonne (Shantol Jackson), and his daughter who he’s not seen since she was a baby. He also hooks up with a soundclash crew, called High Noon. But before he can be convinced to abandon his life of crime and follow “the righteous path”, he encounters the man who shot his brother 10 years earlier, and embarks on a bloody, explosive quest for retribution – a quest which brings him into conflict with vicious London gangster Rico (Stephen Graham).

Yardie is released on August 31st. Read our review of the film here.