Idris Elba cast in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim

At the beginning of the month Idris Elba (Thor, Luther) tweeted that he was on his way to a meeting about an upcoming part for a controversial director. Some thought it was for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (and it could very well have been) but according to Deadline Elba has instead just signed on to lead Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim.

Elba is apparently playing the role originally developed for Tom Cruise, and will be joining fellow Brit Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) who was last month cast as Raleigh Antrobus, a skilled pilot who is still wrestling emotionally with the loss of his co-pilot and biological brother.

Plot details for Pacific Rim emerged back in March and the monster movie will give del Toro the opportunity to create two worlds.

The first is an alternate version of Earth in the near future, decades after a historic date in November 2012 when the first kaiju, a towering Godzilla-like beast, emerged from a hole in the Pacific Ocean and attacked the city of Osaka, Japan. The second is “The Anteverse,” another universe on the other side of that gaping portal, 5 miles below our ocean’s surface.

Since the first attack, the rim has been “spitting out” a variety of gigantic monsters at an increasing rate, which then stride out of the ocean and begin destroying sea-bordering cities, like Tokyo and Los Angeles. In order to combat these monstrous, otherworldly menaces, the military developed the “Jaeger” program, which trains teams of two pilots to jointly operate massive, building-sized mechanized suits of armor and high-tech weaponry

Guillermo Del Toro is currently deep in pre-production and aims to begin shooting in November for a 2013 release.

Idris Elba will be seen in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance next year and is currently filming Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.