Idris Elba is flexing a new muscle these days: his directing muscle.
The Golden Globe-winning actor is teaming up with longtime pal K. Michelle (Love & Hip Hop) for her Rebellious Soul: The Musical. The hip hopera airs on VH1 on Tuesday, August 19.
Described by the network as a "dark and cautionary tale," Rebellious Soul brings Michelle's album to life through narrative. Think R.Kelly's Trapped in the Closet.
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"[R. Kelly] was my mentor when I first got in the business," Michelle tells ET Online. "I used to really watch [Trapped in the Closet] and pay close attention to it. After that, I always wanted to do it."
Enter: Elba, who immediately jumped on board after an informal conversation with Michelle. "I was sitting around talking to him about it. He said he wanted to do it and I was like, 'No, you don't.' But he was on it the next day," she says. "He and I talked about my vision and he completely stepped it up. He didn't want it to be shot like a regular music video, he wanted it to have a different texture to it."
ET Online snagged an exclusive sneak peek at Elba in the director's chair – check it out in the video above!
"It's really crazy to see how humble and down to earth this man is," Michelle gushes. "Directing, he's so creative. He's so in the zone. Nothing distracts him and he's not going to let anything distract that cast."
That's not to say that it was all work on no play.
"He was big on me having as many drinks as I like," she adds with a laugh. "Keeping me focused! He's about business, man. I look forward to seeing more things from him. He's really good at [directing]."
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Love her or hate her as Love & Hip Hop's resident bad girl, fans will see a new side of Michelle on her new VH1 reality series. K. Michelle's My Life will show the singer's personal and professional developments as she navigates the music industry, motherhood and her eccentric group of friends.
As if she wasn't busy enough, Michelle is also readying her sophomore album (her second in just one year) for release in the coming months. Rebellious Soul the album, which hit shelves in November 2013, earned Michelle a Best New Artist trophy at the Soul Train Awards and the Outstanding New Artist honor at the NAACP Image Awards.
Rebellious Soul: The Musical airs on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.
Follow Sophie on Twitter: @SophieSchillaci