Idris Elba Says the Best Part About Being a Dad of Two Is ‘Watching Their Personalities Form Uniquely to Them’

04/15/2016 at 11:30 AM ET

Idris Elba
Robin Marchant/Getty

British star Idris Elba plays the malevolent tiger Shere Kahn in Disney’s lush new version of The Jungle Book. But at home with his brood, the actor is a big softie.

The father of two — daughter Isan, 14, with his ex-wife Kim Norgaard, and son Winston, 2, with former girlfriend Naiyana Garth — Elba most loves “the magic of watching their personalities form uniquely to them,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

“And watching them form on things that you and their mum have taught them and things they remember, that is really truly human magic.”

Though his downtime is rare — the actor will next be seen in Star Trek Beyond and Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower — Elba, 43, especially loves spending time with his children.

A perfect day off entails “hanging out with my kids doing something completely expected and just having some fun,” he says. “And then we’ll go home, grab something to eat, we’ll watch a film, my son will fall asleep, my daughter and I stay up and watch another film, yeah.”

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As for his role as the villainous tiger, Elba hopes fans of the original film will be pleased with his performance. “He has a real sense of why he hates man and man cubs and the idea was to bring that alive,” he says.

“I love the sort of experience of using my voice as opposed to my face and body. It’s quite hard work. They shoot your face so they can see how you’re saying things. I don’t think the tiger looks anything like me, but they were obviously watching me to make it all feel as real as possible.”

For more from Idris Elba, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

FILED UNDER: Idris Elba , News , Parenting

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Showing 5 comments

Dawn on

I know we’ve never met, Idris, but I am definitely pregnancy with your next baby! Call me!

Debs626 on

I just have to say that Idris is one handsome son of a gun!!! WHOOOOO BABY!!!

Sue on

No, I’M baby-mama #3! Lol! He’s F-I-N-E!!!

Anonymous on

Allways liked this guy,Too bad his relationships never worked out.He seems like a good one

K.B. on

The best men are gorgeous on the inside.this man has the added benefit of being as gorgeous on the outside as he seems to be on the inside. And, he treats his mom great………. That’s another way to tell a great guy from just a so-so one.