For a lot of people, the effortlessly cool, suave and decidedly British Idris Elba is an obvious choice to play the next James Bond. That’s why his name is constantly brought up and championed for the part. But the sentiment is not universal and there is pushback against the idea of the Hobbs & Shaw actor replacing Daniel Craig as 007. Despite his cool demeanor, Idris Elba is somewhat bothered by the pushback against him as Bond, as he explained:
You just get disheartened, when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be.’ And it really turns out to be the color of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the color of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.
He may be used to it by now, but Idris Elba does seem to be genuinely a bit hurt by the pushback against the idea of him as Bond. Although he’s not actually in the running for the part and may never play it, there are still those who adamantly reject him in the role. So he feels like he doesn’t even get a fair shake and chance to prove why he is right for Bond, he is just dismissed outright.
Whether it’s explicitly stated or more subtextual, Idris Elba believes that the reasoning he can’t be Bond in some people’s minds, particularly those of an older generation, has nothing to do with his acting ability. Instead, Elba feels the issue is purely about the color of his skin. That is something he can’t and wouldn't change, but its hurtful knowing that people dismiss him for this coveted, prestigious role because of his race.
Idris Elba brings up a good point about the difficulties of that position as well. As he told Vanity Fair, if he did get to play James Bond and it didn’t work, it would be impossible to divorce his skin color from the conversation. If he made Bond 26 and it was a bad movie, even if it was because of behind-the-scenes issues or a bad script or something of that nature, that failure would be tied to his status as the first black James Bond.
And if people didn’t go see the hypothetical movie and it tanked commercially, questions would be asked about whether or not audiences wanted to see a black James Bond. It’s an astute observation, and shows that Idris Elba has a firm grasp on the way conversations have been going. Being the next James Bond is difficult regardless (it’s an iconic role), but it is substantially more difficult and subject to more scrutiny if the actor taking on the part is being judged based on their race.
For Idris Elba, that burden might not be worth it, and as CinemaBlend’s own Gina Carbone said, he deserves better than the inevitable criticism. But Elba seems to have some interest in the role. It doesn’t look like he will get the chance though, because he also confirmed to Vanity Fair that it isn’t happening and he isn’t one of the actors whose names have been rumored lately.