Idris Elba as James Bond: Kanye West backs 'talented' British actor for role

The rapper's endorsement follows criticism from some commentators that the secret agent should only be played by a white actor

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The Independent Culture

Kanye West has backed Idris Elba to be the next James Bond, calling the British actor a “big talent”.

The US rapper said making Elba the first black actor to play the famous spy would be “visionary”.

His comments follow speculation that Elba is the favourite to take on the role next after a leaked email from Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal allegedly said that “Idris should be the next Bond”.

West is the latest celebrity to back the Hackney-born actor to play Bond after a minority of commentators said the British spy should not be played by a black actor.

The rapper reportedly told The Sun newspaper: “James Bond is a role made for British actors and you won’t find a British actor who has the talent of Idris. To be honest you won’t find many anywhere who have his talent...A black Bond would be visionary no doubt.”


Conservative US commentator Rush Limbaugh said Elba could not play the secret agent due to his race.

“He was white and Scottish, period. That is who James Bond is. I know it’s racist to probably even point this out…We had 50 years of white Bonds because Bond is white. Bond was never black,” he said on his radio show.

His views have been echoed by other commentators who have pointed to the intentions of Ian Fleming, who created a spy in the likeness of white singer and actor Hoagy Carmichael.

Elba responded to the speculation following the Sony Pictures leaked email in a humorous tweet earlier this week. 

“Isn’t 007 supposed to be handsome? Glad you think I’ve got a shot! Happy New Year people,” he wrote.

In an interview with NPR in 2011, the actor said he hoped his skin colour would not be the sole topic of conversation if he were to be cast as 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,” he said.

Daniel Craig will play the famous spy in the next Bond film, Spectre, due to be released in 2015.

The actor has reportedly signed a deal to play the secret agent in two more Bond films beyond 2012’s Skyfall, making it unlikely that Elba would make his debut as the spy until at least 2017 if he were to be cast in the role.

Read more: Idris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Rush Limbaugh says Idris Elba cannot play Bond due to his race