Idris Elba has had a great couple of years. He got his big break in the States with his role in HBO’s The Wire back in 2002, and has been steadily climbing the ladder ever since. He’s currently enjoying success as the titular character on BBC’s Luther and you’ll be able to catch him in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus as well as Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim over the next few years. It’s safe to say that the Londoner has made it.
Elba recently sat down with NPR to discuss the rumors that he may take over for Daniel Craig after the Bond franchise moves on to the next iteration. Of course he’d be excited to do it, but he has his reservations about bending the race of the long-time Caucasian hero.
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.
This change would undoubtedly stir up some controversy among fans of the franchise as proven by the outrage heard by fans when Craig was hired. And what was their grief with the casting, you ask? He was, and is, blond. That’s it. Imagine what would happen if they hired Elba. However, the Craig Bond films have been excellent, and no doubt with a talented actor like Idris Elba in the same role the film’s would be different, but doubtfully in a bad way.
Elba is no stranger to controversy over this sort of issue though as many comic book fans were upset about his being cast as Heimdall in this summer’s Thor. Heimdall traditionally is white not just in comic books, but also in Norse mythology so bending the age old story of Thor caused a bit of a problem. Nonetheless, Elba kept the role, did it well, and the movie was great regardless of the skin color of one character. Elba will continue to play roles, ignoring whatever race the part may call for.
So when asked what he’d do if he was offered the role of James Bond, his excitement came unbound.
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.
This is all rumor talk, and no offers have been made, but it could be an interesting change that I’d be willing to let play out.