Rumours that Idris Elba will be taking over from Daniel Craig as the next James Bond have been rumbling for months now, seemingly out of nowhere, and spurred on by many’s desire to see a black man in the role for the first time. I can see where people are coming from, but why bother to try and make a progressive step in a fundamentally troglodytic franchise?
Current 007 author Anthony Horowitz stunned the internet this morning by declaring Elba “too rough” and “a bit too street” for the role, and, arguably racist undertones aside (which his “it’s not a colour issue” qualifier don’t excuse), his claim is manifestly untrue.
Elba has shown extraordinary range in his career thus far, and given he so delicately played the looming, guarded, inscrutable character that was Stringer Bell in The Wire, I daresay he could handle a pun-spewing, fairly one-dimensional spy.
In fairness, Skyfall was a good movie (making up for the train wreck that was Quantum of Solace) and director Sam Mendes should be commended for managing to build such a compelling story out of such limited blocks.
Describing Bond as “f*cking lonely” and a misogynist, Daniel Craig hinted as much in a recent Esquire interview.
“The world has changed. I am certainly not that [sexist and misogynistic] person. But he is, and so what does that mean? It means you cast great actresses and make the parts as good as you can for the women in the movies.”
'Make it as good as you can, given the stale and out-of-date premise', seemed to be the take away, and while Elba previously told fans he was “glad [they] think I’ve got a shot” he might be wise to avoid the franchise and work on something more original. After all, he described working on the similarly money-orientated Avengers series as “torture”.
Idris Elba on screen
Idris Elba on screen
1/5 Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Elba stars as late South African political leader Nelson Mandela in the Oscar-nominated Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Elba played 'passionate and ruthless' DCI John Luther in award-winning BBC One crime drama Luther from 2010 to 2013
3/5 No Good Deed
Elba stars as unstable escaped convict Colin Evans in 2014 thriller No Good Deed
Elba plays ex-military captain Janek in Prometheus, here seen alongside Charlize Theron
5/5 The Wire
Elba established himself in the US first, playing the role of Russell 'Stringer' Bell in drug drama The Wire