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Idris Elba: 'I shortened my name because of bullies'

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A smiling Idris Elba, who was recognised for his role in Luther

© PA Images / Mark J. Terrill/AP

Idris Elba has revealed that he shortened his first name as a teen after relentless taunting from bullies.

The Wire actor, whose real name is Idrissa Elba, grew up in Hackney, East London with his immigrant West African parents.

He told New York Magazine that he ran into the most abuse for his name from those in the right-wing party the National Front while going to school in the more upmarket area Canning Town.

"Their beliefs are 'Keep Britain White'. Walking down the street, someone would call you a black c**t. I was like, 'F**k that'."

Elba, 39, confessed that the teasing because of his feminine-sounding name - which means "firstborn son" - got so bad that he was eventually convinced to drop the last syllable.

He next stars in Ridley Scott's Prometheus with Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, and Charlize Theron.

A Nelson Mandela biopic starring Elba has also been confirmed, as well as a sequel to Thor in which Elba will reprise his role as Heimdall.

Watch Idris Elba in a clip from Prometheus below:

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