'Knuckles' Star Idris Elba Shares What's on His Bucket List After Acting (Exclusive)

The 'Knuckles' star chats with ET about his new series and shares his hopes for the future of his career.

Idris Elba is excited for fans to find out more about everyone's favorite surly echidna with a heart of gold on KnucklesParamount+'s spinoff of the Sonic the Hedgehog films. Chatting with ET's Cassie DiLaura ahead of the show's April 26 premiere on the streamer, Elba shared what fans can look forward to in the six-episode series and how the role plays into his career plans beyond acting.

"It's really fun exploring him because he's quite a character, you know, and in this TV show, he's a fish out of water," the 51-year-old tells ET. "He's like a little kid that's, sort of, exploring Earth and humans and people. And it's funny to actually play out, a lot of fun doing the voiceovers."

Elba recalls the hours-long voiceover sessions he would spend with Jeff Fowler, executive producer of the series and director of the first episode. "I'm usually in with Jeff, really just going off script, having fun coming back and doing lots of it. So, there [are] good times," he adds.

The British actor says he enjoys how "big" one can get while voice acting versus being in front of the camera. "You get to be really big and exploratory and have fun with a character," he explains. He adds that there's an additional drive of wanting to amplify the emotions and give the voice "color."

"You want to give the animators as much color as you can give them, so you just end up being silly and going on," he shares. "I love saying things that aren't on the script just to make everyone laugh, and then you get the energy in the voice."

Knuckles follows Elba's character as he trains Wade Whipple (Adam Pally) and goes on a self-discovery journey. The show takes place between the events of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 -- which releases in December and stars Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey and James Marsden.

Elba tells ET that the series plays a "pretty significant" part in the franchise's universe.

"As far as universes go, you want them to be just as good as the source material, if not better. So you can be like, 'Wow, the Sonic universe has grown characters that we love,'" he says. "I think I've done a very good job of pulling the Knuckles because [he's] a beloved character for the big, hardcore Sonic fans... It's quite a big part of it."

While the voice acting role might not score major points with Elba's 22-year-old daughter, Isan, it has impressed his son, Winston, 10. "He loves seeing Knuckles. He loves Knuckles as a character, and I think he loves recognizing his dad's voice and stuff," the father of two shares proudly. 

Thirty years into his career, that's more than the actor could ask for. "I'm very, very privileged with my life. I just want to do more right, but if I was gonna say [what's on my bucket list], technically I'd like to be more of a director," Elba confesses to ET. "My production company, 23 Summers, is going into a place where I can start to make the things I'm in rather than just be in other people's stuff. And I really love directing and I really love finding a really weird story and turning that into a film or a show." 

Joking that he will probably be "too grumpy looking" to be an actor in the future, he adds that he will continue to act as long as he can. "But directing is definitely a focal point for me over the next years."

"I think that apart from being lucky, I've had the most incredible time. I've gotten to meet the most incredible people [and] work with the most incredible people," Elba says. "Like this is my job -- I get to talk about the work that I do. I get to travel. I've also made important films and stories, and I think I have told stories that are meaningful to human beings and that's definitely one of the highlights of what I do for sure. We are living our dreams."

Knuckles premieres April 26 on Paramount+.