Idris Elba, the acclaimed actor known for his roles in Luther and The Wire, has long been a fan favourite to take on the iconic role of James Bond. However, in a recent interview on the SmartLess podcast, Elba revealed that he has been put off from pursuing the role due to the negative response and racist backlash he faced.
Elba expressed that being considered for the role of James Bond was a huge compliment. He described it as reaching the pinnacle of his career, considering the character’s global popularity and the widespread recognition of the role. He acknowledged that the casting of the next Bond is a topic that captures the attention of fans worldwide, with everyone having an opinion on who should take on the role.
For a long time, Elba was flattered by the compliments and excitement surrounding his potential casting as James Bond. However, he revealed that the situation took a turn for the worse when the discussions about his candidacy became about race. Elba expressed his disappointment at the disgusting and off-putting reactions he received, stating that the negativity detracted from the initial compliments he had received.
Elba emphasised that the racist backlash he faced was disheartening and made him reconsider pursuing the role of James Bond. He expressed his frustration that the discussions had shifted from his acting abilities and suitability for the role to his race.
“Essentially, it was a huge compliment that every corner of the world except from some corners, which we will not talk about, were really happy about the idea that I could be considered,” Elba added. “Those that weren’t happy about the idea made the whole thing disgusting and off-putting because it became about race. It became about nonsense, and I got the brunt of it.”
Elba firmly believes that the focus should be on an actor’s talent and suitability for a character rather than their ethnicity.
This is not the first time Elba has addressed the speculation surrounding his potential casting as James Bond. In the past, he has repeatedly ruled himself out from taking on the role, emphasising that it is an honour but not something he believes will come to fruition. Elba has also expressed a desire to move beyond the limitations of being labelled as a “Black actor” and instead focus on his skills and the opportunities available to him.
Daniel Craig, who portrayed James Bond in five films, including the recent No Time To Die, has solidified his place in Bond history. His portrayal of the character has received critical acclaim, and he has become synonymous with the role. As Craig’s tenure ended in 2021, the speculation surrounding his successor continues to generate interest and discussion among fans and the media.
While Elba has been a popular choice among fans, there have been other actors rumoured for the role of James Bond. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Henry Cavill have also been mentioned as potential candidates. However, it remains to be seen who will ultimately take on the mantle of the iconic British spy.
The casting decision for the next James Bond will undoubtedly be a significant moment in the franchise’s history, but I am glad that Idris will not be sacrificed on the James Bond alter.