Does Idris Elba’s failed audition prove James Bond is just another racist cop?
Is Idris Elba bowing out of the 007 race? You may have had your hopes pinned on Idris Elba for the next James Bond flick, but alas, the British actor has put the breaks on those ambitions. Speaking on the Smartless podcast, Elba laid bare his reasons for cooling off on the prospect of filling the iconic shoes of super spy, James Bond.
The Bond Paradox
“For a long time, I was on cloud nine from all the compliments,” Elba shared, candidly referring to the global recognition he received. As he painted the picture, being considered for the role of James Bond was like a nod from the world that you’d reached a peak in your acting career. However, the situation quickly soured for Elba.
The ex-Luther star, who has frequently been tipped for the 007 role, found himself at the center of a controversy that had little to do with his acting skills. The idea of Elba, a black actor, as James Bond ignited a debate on race that left a bitter taste for him. It was no longer about who would make the best Bond, but an “obsession with race” that Elba found off-putting.
Notably, the movie’s producer, Barbara Broccoli, was open to the idea of a non-white Bond. Still, the ensuing controversy around race led Elba to rethink his potential involvement in the Bond franchise.
Elba offered his perspective to Esquire: “Racism is very real, but it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be.” It is from this standpoint that Elba has now chosen to not identify himself as a ‘Black actor’. In his words, “Our skin is just skin.”
With the Bond role off the table, Elba has his sights set on scaling his character in the BBC drama Luther to Bond-like heights. He envisions the character of John spawning its own franchise, attracting a devoted fanbase much like Bond has over the years.
As for who will pick up the baton after Daniel Craig, that remains a mystery. Rumors have hinted at the desire for a younger actor to fill 007’s role. Yet, with Broccoli’s openness for a non-white Bond, there’s the potential for a groundbreaking casting decision in the pipeline.
On another note, have you caught up on all the James Bond movies yet? If not, we’ve got a handy guide to help you watch them all in the right order. And you might also be curious to find out just how close Henry Cavill was to being 007!
There have been whispers in Hollywood that director Antoine Fuqua had discussions with Broccoli about the next Bond. It appears Broccoli is keen on having an ethnic minority actor for the secret agent role, with Elba having been one of the top choices. Fuqua agreed that Elba had the right presence for the role, with his one condition being that “Idris could do it if he was in shape.” Rude, much?
However, for now, fans can look forward to seeing Daniel Craig in the Bond role next year with Danny Boyle at the helm. Meanwhile, Elba’s focus is on his directorial debut, Yardie, where he confirmed to Good Morning Britain at the premiere that he wasn’t planning to step into 007’s shoes.
As we gear up for James Bond 25, set to hit theaters in the fall of 2023, one question remains: If not Idris Elba, then who?