Idris Elba On Possibly Playing James Bond

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:20 pm,

Idris Elba James Bond Idris Elba On Possibly Playing James Bond

Even though the next James Bond film – still tentatively titled Bond 23 - is only now gearing up for production, there has long been speculation about whether or not Daniel Craig – the man currently playing 007 – will return for a fourth turn as the iconic spy, once he’s done with this, his third Bond film.

Aside from the debate over whether or not Craig should keep playing Bond (the man has an equal number of supporters and detractors) there has been one issue of greater contention: Who should play Bond after Craig.

Actors like Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class) and Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) have been named by many film fans as prime candidates to take over the mantle of Bond – however, British actor Idris Elba (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) has also had his name floated for the role, which is no doubt a matter of controversy, given that Elba is black.

While speaking to NPR recently, Elba addressed the possibility of his playing Bond at some point. Right off the bat, he let it be known that he would not be interested in doing it just for the sake arbitrarily altering the character:

“It’s a rumor…I just don’t want to be the black James Bond. Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.

Of course that doesn’t mean the actor is against the prospect of playing Bond. Elba went on to detail the Bond-style tactics he would employ for his meeting with Sony execs:

“I’d not only get in the cab…but I’d take the taxi driver out of the car, hostage. The taxi, jump out while it was moving, jump onto a pedal bike that was just past the door as I got on it, and then get onto a plane — on the wing — land on top of Sony Studios, slide through the air conditioning, and land in the office…I’m never shaken or stirred.”

As stated, the mere rumor of a black actor playing James Bond is sure to incite immediate controversy amongst those…”true fans” of Ian Fleming’s dapper spy, who would argue (as usual) that ‘Black does not equal Bond,’ or that switching the character’s race would amount to some form of PC pandering… Because, you know, James Bond is a white male who just so happens to change ethnicity (Scottish? English?) and physical traits (blond or auburn hair, blue or brown eyes) depending on the actor playing him. A black Bond would undoubtedly have as many opponents as he would supporters.

Idris Elba as James Bond Idris Elba On Possibly Playing James Bond

That all said: Elba is a rising star, having already established himself via shows like HBO’s The Wire NBC’s The Office or BBC’s Luther (which is now returning to the airwaves). Elba’s future on the big screen is just as bright, what with upcoming roles in major films like next year’s Ghost Rider 2 and Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus, as well as major tentpole projects in 2013, such as Guillermo del Toro’s monster movie epic, Pacific Rim.

Of course, Elba is already familiar with (and likely tired of) the controversy over race-switching in movies: the actor found himself in the middle of a heated cultural debate earlier this year, due to his playing the role of a traditionally white Norse god in the Marvel Studios blockbuster, Thor. Given that experience, we’re willing to bet that Elba (as evidenced by his statements) would be the first to scrutinize the need for a black Bond – something that the Internet trolls may want to keep in mind before posting their comments.

Bond 23 is headed into production at the moment, and is aiming for a November 9, 2012 release date. We’ll keep you posted about Daniel Craig’s future with the franchise.

Source: NPR (via Cinema Blend)

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  1. Okay I ave to be clear with this and that said the real insight is who cares what your opinion is if your not from the UK which means born in the UK then your opinion doesn’t really count because like I say again James Bond and its first actor Sean Conery came from the UK.

    • Stop being childish. The opinions of the entire world count, because the entire world supports 007, without us it would have shrivelled up gone broke and died in that cold miserable country of yours… the weather that is.

  2. Best Actor for the job is my only criteria .
    Elba is very talented ,I wouldnt have a problem with his casting.

  3. Connery was the best. Craig is very good. Elba would be fantastic. He is an absurdly charismatic and gifted actor. One of the reasons I like “Luther” so much is that it is played about 99% race-irrelevant. Much like the Lou Gossett character in “Officer and a Gentleman”. Elba has always seemed much more British than black to me. But I’m an american so my opinions don’t really mean much.

  4. Well there’s an English actor called Frazer Douglas who is perfect. As soon as you see him it all just fits, cos lets face it all this talk of Elba, Cavill and the others is clutching at straws a bit really. He’s an industry secret.

  5. OMG I would LOVE to see him in that role. He’d be fabulous, so sexy and charismatic. But Sony doesn’t decide. No, it’s the Broccoli heirs who still hold that power, I believe. One more with Daniel Craig then it’s Elba’s time. I hope!

  6. ok, obama becoming president was inspirational. it was a big day. because he proved that race cannot hold you back from even achieving the title of president.

    this is not the same. james bond is an iconic character, and he is white. he should be played by white men. this is not some inspirational story about what you can or cannot accomplish, its just appropriate casting for a movie.

    being a white, handsome, intelligent, male is the kind of guy that society considers has all of the superficial “advantages”. having all of these superficial advantages contribute significantly to james bond’s massive ego, which is his main character flaw and drives his personality and actions. changing those advantages works against the character itself.

    • James bond was never described a skin color. In the book it is told that he has dark hair, a long scar on his cheek and a specific color of eyes(I forgot what color) but he did not specify race. By your standards the last bond who was blonde should have never played the role because he obviously doesn’t have dark hair.

      • None of the characters in the books were described as having a skin colour unless they WEREN’T white. Fleming made very sure to let the reader know every time he was talking about a “negro” or a “Chinaman”. The rest of the white characters’ skin colours were left out of description.

  7. i dont give a damn if he is black or no
    as an actor elba OWNS all these actors the article mentioned…they dont even come close

    He is a superb actor,next james ? hell yea elba ftw

  8. I truly think Idris Elba will make a dynamic character as a James Bond
    not base upon ethnic color instead he has the qualities definitely that will approve him for the role.

  9. I honestly think Idris Elba will make a dynamic character as a James Bond
    not base upon ethnic color but he has the qualities that will approve him for the role.

  10. I honestly think Idris Elba will make a dynamic character as a James Bond
    not base upon ethnic but he has the qualities that will approve him for the role.

  11. I honestly think Idris Elba will make a dynamic character as a James Bond
    not base upon ethnic instead he has the qualities to approve him for the role.

  12. I honestly think Idris Elba will make a dynamic character as a James Bond
    not base upon ethnic instead the qualities to approve him for the role.

  13. I honestly think Idris Elba make a dynamic character as a James Bond not base upon ethnic race instead his qualities will approve him for the role.

  14. Where does this end. What good reason for defecating on an artists life’s work, ignoring his vision and intent? For what? For PC? Why don’t we just pour black paint on Michelangelo’s statue of David, or paint an afro on the Mona Lisa, redo Harry Potter with black kids. Why not redo Shaft with a white guy or cast Leonardo DiCaprio in Dr. Martin Luther King’s biography? Then will we see some outrage? Show some RESPECT for Ian Flemming and his works. RIP.

    • You do know that James Bomd is more affliated with his country then race, right? But before i breakdown how incorrect you are and how inconsequential Bond’s race is to his character, how many Ian Flemming Novel’s habe you read?

    • Ian Flemming foi um homem a frente de seu tempo, portanto, não se importaria com a cor ou raça do personagem que o imortalizou mundialmente.

      O imprerio britânico no seu topo de sucesso, cujo o sol nunca terminava, tinha representante de todas as etnias. E porque elas não podem proteger o “imperio”?!

      O novo ramonce de 007 – Carte Blanche – (escrito por um americano), mostra um Bond moderno inserido em nossa realidade, um 007 atualizado, assim como sempre foi Flemming.

      Elba é tão inglês como qualquer outro, tão talentaso como qualquar outro e merece nossa admiração, não por sua cor mais ao que representa para o cinema britânico e mundial.
      “Nossa missão é proteger o Reino….. ultilizando todos os meios necessários…”

      Irapuan Ramos, Rio, Brasil. Fã incondicional de Jemes Bond, Agente 007.

    • I’m finding that blaming political correctness for change has become an excuse for not wanting to think critically about actual issues that might be affecting people.

  15. I see nothing wrong with an African American James Bond, Ian Fleming NEVER wrote about the color of his skin. Only his British nationality. Plus, Elba is a fantastic actor and Bond suits his style. I’d love to see this happen.

  16. First, it is just a rumor.

    Secondly, Craig’s still here, and he’s amazing.

    And finally, James Bond is part of the top of the western society. He represents, in himself, this high-class-white-men that are extremely elegant and powerful. That’s it. Like some others said, do you imagine a black or Asian Harry Potter? That’s ridiculous. There are icons we must not change, even if the society has changed. Stop trying to fight for communities when it has nothing to do with it.

    And don’t tell me it’s racism, I am not Caucasian.

    • It’s about a British spy. In the setting that Fleming had him he would obviously have been a white guy because I doubt there were any black spys at that time. But the Bond movies are presented as being in the modern time, why couldn’t there be a black Bond? It’s about a British spy called James Bond. That’s basically it. It’s done in a modern setting, there are no doubt black British members of the secret service now, so what is so outlandish about James Bond being black?

      James Bond doesn’t represent any of those things you said. He is simply a British spy.

      • Oh com’ on. James has always been white and he does represent the Western elite, indirectly. It is not a matter of being open-minded or tolerant, it is just a fact. Stop telling us he simply is a British or a spy, hidden behind a number, to justify a “change” of origin. There are things set up in a certain way. That’s it. And all this mumbo-jumbo stuff about modern times… Let me tell you something. Modern times, like you said, push us to represent everyone at the same level. Yes. But, why do people care so much about this? Why don’t you understand that, as a person, you’re not superior or inferior to someone else? I am sorry for you, but modern considerations must not interfere with any of the piece of art we have.

  17. Quote from Casino Royale: “Bond reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless.”

    Nuff said.

    • Does Daniel Craig look anything like Hoagy Carmicheal ?? I think not, that was a cultural reference at that time.. Which is the main point, Bond moves with the times and Fleming knew that, which is why he allowed subtle changes to the character over time.

    • Does Daniel Craig look anything like Hoagy Carmicheal ?? I think not, that was a cultural reference at that time.. Which is the main point, Bond moves with the times and Fleming knew that.

      • Look, I’m not against freedom of interpretation as such, and I like Elba as an actor. But I like at least a little consistency with recurring characters. Plus I can tell you that Daniel Craig also doesn’t convince me in the role, I just don’t see Bond when I look at him, although I liked the movies.

        • I do agree with you in some ways Lix… Craig’s Bond isn’t an instantly likable chap, the way Brosnan’s was. Craig’s Bond is more like the guy that does the job, no questions asked. But the final scenes in Skyfall prove he has a heart.

        • I do agree with you in some ways Lix. Craig’s Bond isn’t an instantly likable chap, the way Brosnan’s was. Craig’s Bond is more like the guy that does the job, no questions asked. But the final scenes in Skyfall prove he has a heart.

        • I do agree with you in some ways Lix. Craig’s Bond isn’t an instantly likable chap, the way Brosnan was. Craig’s Bond is more like the guy that does the job, no questions asked. But the final scenes in Skyfall prove he has a heart.

        • I do agree with you in some ways Lix. Craig’s Bond isn’t an instantly likable chap, the way Brosnan was. Craig’s Bond is more like the guy that does the job, no questions asked. Final scenes in Skyfall prove he has a heart.

        • I do agree with you in some ways Lix. Craig’s Bond isn’t an instantly likable chap, the way Brosnan was. Craig’s Bond is more like the guy that does the job, no questions asked. Skyfall proves he has a heart.

        • I do agree with you in some ways Lix. Craig’s Bond isn’t an instantly likable chap, the way others were. Craig’s Bond is more like the guy that does the job, no questions asked. Skyfall proves he has a heart.

  18. No actor that has played James Bond exactly fits the description from the books. All, perhaps, do in different ways without fitting the precise description. Bond was described by Ian Fleming as being “dark with a cruel look” – so a black actor is pefectly valid for the role. (Perhaps more so than Daniel Craig in terms of physical description)

  19. Idris Elba would would be the bond race has nothing to do with it the fact Idris Elba is a amazing actor is the main thing …..’LUTHER’

  20. Too PC. What’s next? Have a female Bond character “Jamie Bond”?

    • Except that Jamie is also a male name.

  21. Break the mould and everyone complains. Cast it the way Fleming intended – like a young Roger Moore with an edge. Therefore the next James Bond must be Frazer Douglas.

  22. James Bond is a persona, covert identity not a real person. That’s why his character can change.

    • Bond isn’t just a persona, otherwise his parents in Skyfall wouldn’t have “Bond” on their graves.. It was a persona in the original Casino Royal

    • Bond isn’t just a persona, otherwise his parents in Skyfall wouldn’t have “Bond” on their graves. It was a persona in the original Casino Royal

  23. Bond isn’t just a persona, otherwise his parents in Skyfall wouldn’t have the name “name” on their graves.. It was a persona in the original Casino Royale though.

  24. Bond isn’t just a persona, otherwise his parents in Skyfall wouldn’t have the name “Bond” on their graves.. It was a persona in the original Casino Royale though.

  25. Bond isn’t just a persona, otherwise his parents in Skyfall wouldn’t have “Bond” on their graves.. It was a persona in the original Casino Royals though.

  26. Austin W. – Idris is not African American – he is Britsh!
    Being British, he is qualified to play Bond, and a fantastic one he would make! Perfect for the part…

  27. Actor curtisjefferson would play the part the best dream about that007