Idris Elba On Possibly Playing James Bond

Published 4 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)

TAGS: James bond
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  1. I am absolutely down with this. He is a fantastic actor.

  2. No thanks. While they’re at it get rid of Daniel Craig for the list of potentials.

  3. Putting in anyone other than an British actor is a stupid idea.

    • @Vinitneo

      So you think it was a stupid idea to cast Sean Connery (a Scottish actor) as James Bond?

      • @vinitneo: Idris is British.
        @Kofi: Scotland is apart of Britain

    • He is a British actor.

      • And there be the lesson of English and British. ^-^

    • he is a british actor and has his own series…it’d be good for people to be educated before they comment on this topic please

  4. I think Clive Owen would be awesome as James Bond.

    • Agreed!

      • too old forget it

    • yeah he would make a gteat bond

  5. ehm!! i though Sir Sean Connery was a Scottish born British actor ?!?!

    • @gargamel

      Born in Scottland, raised in Ireland.

  6. This would be awesome, not because he’s black but because he’s an amazing talent. Its a fictional character, nothing to have a heart attack about,

  7. Liam Neeson would be awesome ! :)

  8. As long as we can have a white person star in Shaft or Blade it’s all good. ;-)

    • @Ken J

      There is a big difference between race and nationality. The major characteriic about Bond is his nationality. Changing the character to a black british would not affect the character personality like changing him to American or Canadian. The latter would completly change what Bond is.

      On the other hand, Blade would not be a big deal. His character came from poverty and surviving the death of his mother. Any race could fit that. Shaft could not be changed. His whole idenity is based off his race. He represents the black race. You cant change that. It would be akin to changing the race of the Black Widow or the twins of from The Boondock Saints.

      • @Ignur Rant, Thanks a lot for your great post there. This just another example of how far we’ve come in the world in terms of racism and ignorance in general. In reality we have’nt made as much change as we’ve thought as a so-called modern society. People on here just jumping to say James Bond is supposed to be Caucasian just because he’s British is just outright STUPID and IGNORANT as well as people thinking that Idris is AFRICAN AMERICAN by default. There are many races of people who are of British Nationality as well as many there are millions of people of African or “Negroid” descent ALL OVER THE WORLD and have been for thousands of years. Some people need to get their arses out of their own rears.

      • Relax dude, I was just joking around. I’m Asian, not like I’m looking out for White people rights, lol. The only time I care about race/nationality is when there is a source material that makes that point clear. Like when everyone thought anyone but an American would make a good Captain America. I didn’t understand that. We have plenty of good American actors, why look elsewhere??

        Anyway, 007 can be whatever, as long as he’s from the UK (there, I included Sean Connery, lol) and the actor fits the role. So no young and hip 007 with gelled up hair please…

  9. I have always been a fan of Bond. From the films to the novels. I think Elba as Bond would be awesome. Though he might be too old by the time Daniel Craig (who I also like) is ready to give up the reins. If anything I would like to see him as a 00 agent if not bond before it is too late.

  10. I’d call him black James Bond…

  11. I don’t care if he’s black, he’s not british!

    • Born in London. Twonk.

      • And has a full on cockney accent!

    • research your actors please.

  12. There was a time when I was dead against this.

    However, Elba would be a fantastic Bond. Yeah go for it, as long as Craig is gone.

    • @DrSamBeckett, Yeah, I’m glad you have opened your mind a lot more to this. Screenrant had an article a while back about this and I think I had an argument with either you or someone else about this(doubt it was you though). As long as the actor is great and can convey the “Britishness” of Bond correctly then that’s all I care about. Too bad there aren’t enough open minded people like you around. Some people are just more rascist than they even realize without really intending to be. If this was Captain Britain then I’d have a problem with an American playing that role(I’m American btw).

      • It might very well have been me. But honestly, if the actor is right, nothing else matter. He would be an awesome Bond, he’s suave, cool, convincing in a fight, looks good with a gun. And he’s British. That’s the perfect recipe for Bond. Skin colour simply doesn’t enter the equation.

        I’ll admit, it can be taken too far. Shaft can’t be white. Superman can’t be black. but for such an open role like Bond, they should just pick the best person for the part. I can picture Elba as Bond, it would be a great additionmto the Bond legacy.

        • I was one of those fools who went into a tizzy when Daniel Craig was cast as Bond, all because I didn’t know who he was, and he had blonde hair. Then I saw the first clips of the actual film, and realized what an idiot I was. He’s now my favorite Bond. So, as much as I reflexively disliked the idea of casting someone of an entirely different race as Bond, I can see your point, and I’m not hyperventilating like I was over Craig. (Actually, my biggest objection at this point is just that I don’t like to think about having to get used to a new Bond until the current one confirms he’s done.)

          And I guess I’m with you as far as Shaft, because his race is kind of built into his character, like being British is a part of Bond. But why is it you think Superman can’t be black?

        • @DrSamBeckett, Cool my dude. ;) Although I’d never want to see Superman as a black man,Asian,Hispanic or any other race just for the sake of it never being done, I do feel that Superman being white, black or any other ethnicity(visually) is neither here NOR there in terms of what he SHOULD look like. Superman is an EXTRATERRESTRIAL, he’s not from Scandinavia, Africa, or Asia so there is absolutley NO reason for him to look Caucasian at all UNLESS HIS PLANET IS SIGNIFICANTLY FAR FROM IT’S SUN. That being said, Superman was created in a time where ALL Superheroes were white and they continued to be that way for a long time. In my humble opinion, SUPERMAN, more SPECIFICALLY would HAVE be an even deeper character if he actually appeared to be more “ethnic”. A black man OR even leaned more to a race that it would be hard to specify what race category he belonged to.

          Superman is more of a modern “god” and although many don’t say it, there are elements of a “Christ”-like persona to Superman. That being said, the implications of a “god/Christ” like character being a person of color was and still is looked upon as something that most people of “Eurpean” descent would not accept even nowadays but it would’ve deepened Superman’s character arc even MORE if he were a person of color and people would’nt have been readibly acceptable to him. With all that said, I’m still content with Superman staying white and it would’nt be necessary to change his race at all. BUT can there or SHOULD there be extraterrestrials that look like a person of Negroid descent? OH HELL YES, WHY NOT. There isn’t any reason why an alien should look like a white man, skrulls,little green men etc. but for some reason there can be no black looking or Asian looking extraterrestrials? Nah, that is just biased racist and closed minded. As a matter of fact there were ancient tablets written about Negroid looking aliens that came from to earth from another solar system, as WELL as other visually different human looking races.

  13. I would be down with this casting choice.

  14. Why does everyone have to make things like this a race war? Simple fact is that Bond is a white character who’s had a lasting, iconic impression on society as a whole. Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury isn’t the same as Nick Fury hasn’t had the same cultural impact as James Bond. There are iconic characters spanning all races that just wouldn’t be the same if you switched the race/color of the actor playing those roles. I personally would be horridly insulted if they rebooted the Blade franchise and didnt have anyone but a black actor playing the title character. This whole “race war” in response to this post is a bit much isn’t it? Racism goes both ways and won’t go anywhere till EVERYONE let’s it go. 

  15. I would rather see Christian Bale, Tom Hardy or Michael Fassbender as James Bond than Idris Elba. Give him his own original spy franchise.

    • Problem with Bale and Fassbender is that they’ve both already played widely recognized characters from popular culture (Batman and Magneto), both of whom are a little too Bond-ish at times. Hardy, though, would be an excellent choice, after his role in Inception.

      • Bale wouldn’t get my vote. Fassbender would. And Hardy would be cool.

    • Hardy has my vote.

    • @Mike Eisenberg, Every actor you mentioned is Caucasian. You sound just like a racist segregationist from the 1950/60′s. “He aint one of us, let em make their own. “XXX” starring Vin Deisel was an original spy franchise and Vin Deisel IS BLACK, I don’t care how much he hides it. However, Ice Cube took over the role for the sequel. How about people with names like Eisenberg, Berkowitz, Goldbloom, etc. should have their own spy franchise only, they should never be allowed to be James Bond. How do you like them bagels?

      • Alright Blastaar your going too far, he aint being racist or anything. Slow your roll.

      • Ice Cube continued the franchise, but he didn’t play the same character as Vin Diesel. Apples and oranges.

  16. People seem to obsess over the nationality of the actor. Only two of the actors who played Bond have actually been English. As longnas they are right for the part and the script is good, that is all that really matter.

    • Agreed, and Im shocked at how many ppl on this site that dont know that Elba is a British Actor. C’mon ppl, do your homework

    • Very true. Daniel Cig is the only English actor I liked.

    • and Idris would be the 3rd english actor lol people are just odd some times.

  17. I like Elba as an actor, he’s good in almost anything. That being said, if he played Bond, there’s no way he wouldn’t be remembered as the “black Bond”. Sad but true. Then again, everyone was against casting Daniel Craig as Bond because he doesn’t fit Ian Fleming’s profile, and look how that turned out.

      • 99% is perhaps a bit steep. But I agree with your point. All that matter is whether or not the actor can play the part, Elba would be a fantastic Bond, the colour of his skin is totally unimportant.

      • First of all, if you thought you were being clever referring to my comment about Shaft, I was just kidding around. But I’m glad I said it now because it exposes a pretty funny thing about you and possibly some others. It’s funny how some people will argue that race doesn’t matter one way, but going the other way, oh no, that’s wrong. Lol. Sorry, I find hypocrisy a little amusing… :-D

  18. I’ld rather have Craig, but if he’s gone, then IDK, Clive Owen, Neison, then, far down the road, this guy, not because im racist (I’m not) its just that im used to bond being a white guy, im used to kingpin being white and not the guy from the green mile, catwoman is white and not storm from the xmen, and im used to spiderman being peter parker (hes not spiderman, he should have changed his name to something else, after all, ben reilly was called scarlet spider and not spider man, so he should have altered the name somewhat)…

    did any of you like those changes or those movies? This is a rumor at best, hes a good actor, but ill be against him playing 007, maybe he will play 003 or something? but not bond…

    • A lot of people liked Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin.

      • He was awesome as the Kingpin. I can’t picture anyone else playing the part.

      • Count me as one of them.

        • Same I dont think anybody else can do a better Kingpin than MCD

    • Ertha Kitt also played Catwoman. She’s black.

  19. It is a go and Idris Elba would be excellent as bond because bond is a UK icon and because he is black doesn’t matter as long as he was born in the UK and is British who cares just as long as his original accent sounds as if he is from the UK and that he’s not faking his accent who cares.

    • That’s not true.

    • You’re a tad confused. You’re thinking about the “00″ status. The actual number at the end does signify a specific person. Meaning 006 was Alec Trevelian (sp?), 007 is James Bond, 008 would be someone else, 005 would be another person, etc…

  20. Daniel Craig is by far my fav bond yet, after him tho id have to go with jonathan rhys meyers as the fallow up, young with the looks attitude and great actor..

  21. Idris Elba is suave and sophisticated, AND he’s an Englishman.
    DO IT!!!
    also bcuz it would stir the pot and piss a lot of people off haha

  22. Idris Elba is suave and sophisticated, AND he’s an Englishman.
    DO IT!!!
    also bcuz it would stir the pot and pi$$ a lot of people off haha

  23. Great casting choice, however I always thought Colin Salmon would make a great Bond too. And we need a female Dr Who, Alex Kingston gets my vote

  24. Back in the day when there was talk about a black Bond, and names like Jamie Fox and Sean Combs came up, I was very much against it. But THIS could work, Elba is fantastic. Fassbender could also be great.

  25. I can actually think of an American actor who would be great as Bond.

    Jon Hamm.

  26. James Bond is a suave cool WHITE guy. I mean do they switch numbers around on double-o agents? Cuz if they do, then I suppose he could swing it (I love Idris Elba, the guy’s great). But how in the world would they explain .007 suddenly turning up black? I mean…how would one explain that? Hell, I go for a remake of the 007 franchise using a different nationality before I’d go for that…

    • How do they suddenly explain how Bond regenerates into a drastically different looking man every ten years or so?

      • Thanks for taking the words out of my mouth. Bond is a character defined by being cool, suave, good looking, lethal, and British. I’m all for Idris getting the part. I want to see what he would bring to the mythos. Craig brought a primal badass nature to it, Connery was suave beyond words. Idris…, I want to see.

      • Thanks for taking the words out of my mouth. Bond is a character defined by being cool, suave, good looking, lethal, and British. I’m all for Idris getting the part. I want to see what he would bring to the mythos. Craig brought a primal nature to it, Connery was suave beyond words. Idris…, I want to see.

  27. I hate topics like this cause someone is going to yell racist somewhere over something that is racist.

    But IMO Elba would be a good Bond, he is a great actor and he is from the UK which fits the main categories. The only reason I would be against this is if Bond was created as a white guy (I havent read the books yet) so that would be like Will Smith being casted as Captain America.

    He wouldnt be my top pick, I’d go for either Michael Fassbender or Leslie Neilson or someone else but Elba would be in my top 5 now (if we were going for a modern James Bond if we were making a Bond film from the 60s or 70s Id say Fassbender hands down).

    • NOT Leslie Neilson lol, I meant Liam Neeson.

      • Its funny because in Ian Flemmings books Bonds most distinct feature is his cold piercing eyes. His eyes are his biggest physical atribute.

      • As awesome as Liam Neeson is, he is too old for the part. And he’s sorta Irish.