Before world premiering his film at the Sundance Film Festival, Yardie helmer Idris Elba stopped by Deadline’s Sundance Studio, along with the film’s stars Aml Ameen, Shantol Jackson, Sheldon Shepherd, and Everaldo Cleary, to talk on why this film adaption felt natural to tackle as his directorial feature.

Elba, who was introduced to the 1992 novel of the same name as a teenager, said “when the opportunity came, I read the script and realized that everything that was in the script I could certainly amplify with some truth.” The African East London native added, “I was there in that time period. I know the people the book was about. I’ve met these people and been in the areas. So I felt like this was something that wasn’t going to be too much of a departure from who I am.”

The pic, which spans from ’70s Kingston and ’80s Hackney, follows a young Jamaican man named D (Ameen) who, after the murder of his older brother Jerry Dread (Creary), grows up under the wing of a Kingston Don and music producer named King Fox (Shepherd). After being dispatched to London, where he reconnects with his childhood sweetheart (Jackson), he encounters the man who shot his brother 10 years earlier, and embarks on a bloody, explosive quest for retribution.

“As an actor I like to go as wide as I can from who I am. As a director, for my first film, I just felt like it would be good to something that I really could texturize.”

Check out the interview above.

The Deadline Studio is presented by Hyundai. Special thanks to Calii Love.