He'll play Sensi, a role that had been developed for Tom Cruise.
TheWrap reported on June 3 that Legendary wanted Elba for the movie.
The actor is now shooting "Prometheus," a Ridley Scott project also starring Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron. His work in HBO's "The Wire" was widely praised, and he was nominated for a Golden Globe for playing Chief Inspector John Luther in the BBC series "Luther," which returns to BBC America in October.
And with Will Smith passing on Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," Elba may land that title role.
"Pacific Rim" is shaping up to be a really interesting project.
Charlie Hunnam — Gavin in this year's "The Ledge" and Jackson "Jax" Teller from the television series "Sons of Anarchy" — stars, and there's talk that Charlie Day will play a professor.
It's a crazy-looking movie: There are giant — like the size of buildings giant — robots, alien monsters and another universe.
Travis Beacham wrote the screenplay and Legendary Pictures' Jon Jashni and Thomas Tull are producing.