James Watkins thinks Idris Elba has amazing screen presence.

James Watkins

James Watkins

Watkins was thrilled to cast the 43-year-old star in 'Bastille Day' and knew the hunky actor would have to do "as little as possible" to convey what he needed for his character Briar.

He told website HeyUGuys: "I was sent a script and the idea of making a high octane thriller in Paris really appealed to me. And then the notion that Idris may be involved made it irresistible really because he was an actor I really wanted to work with.

"He's got amazing screen presence, Idris.

"And that's something we discussed in terms of this character Briar that he plays, is that he's got such screen presence and Briar being this granite wall kind of hard, no nonsense character- it all about him doing as little as possible.

"Some of the references we talked about with DeNiro and early Al Pacino and Lee Marvin film like Point Blank. Idris doing as little as possible really because he's got so much of that screen presence."

Having previously directed 'The Woman in Black', James was able to bring his horror skills to the action movie.

He said: "Horror is very pure in that's it's very visual; horror and action are very similar in that way. You don't often get the opportunity to make a really big action film in this country so seeing that opportunity I grasped it.

"I'm really interested in tension, and held and sustained tension in film and I think that's something that I tried to explore in films I've done in the past. And I think that's something I wanted to bring to this.

"I really wanted it to be the edge of your seat, white knuckle 90 minute thrill ride. So hopefully I was able to bring some of those skills to keep that going."