People

Idris Elba has responded to that James Bond casting backlash

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Idris Elba

Many people have expressed their displeasure over a ‘black Bond’ – and you can believe Idris Elba has noticed.

Every couple of months, it seems, the internet is flooded with rumours that Idris Elba is going to step into Daniel Craig’s shoes as the next James Bond.

It all kicked off in 2014, when a leaked email from Sony Pictures revealed that senior executive Amy Pascal believed that “Idris should be the next Bond.” And, according to The Independent, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg quickly threw his weight behind the claims, saying he would love to see Elba as the first “Bond of colour”.

Plus, there’s the fact that Elba himself has frequently teased fans about the possibility of becoming 007. Indeed, just last year, he tweeted out a brooding selfie, alongside the fateful words: “My name’s Elba, Idris Elba.” 

Naturally, there are many who are truly shaken (and stirred) by the idea of Elba as 007. However, there are also those who are opposed to him stepping into the secret agent’s shoes.

Why? Because of the colour of his skin.

You may also like

Idris Elba recalls childhood “trauma” that triggered his greatest fear

Speaking to Vanity Fair about the backlash, Elba said that it had put him off the idea of becoming Bond.

“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 colour of my skin,” he said. “And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the colour of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.”

Despite this, Elba added that he would still consider the role if it were offered to him by Bond writers.

“James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character, that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey,” he said. “Of course, if someone said to me, ‘Do you want to play James Bond?,’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah!’ That’s fascinating to me. 

“But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, ‘Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond’. Because, by the way, we’re talking about a spy. If you really want to break it down, the more less-obvious it is, the better.”

You may also like

No Time To Die: what will a James Bond film under the influence of Phoebe Waller-Bridge look like?

Of course, we still have Bond 25 to get through before we start thinking about the next 007. And it looks set to be a humdinger as, per Craig’s request, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who created, wrote and starred in BBC’s Fleabag, has been brought in to liven up the script of the next James Bond film.

“There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the Bond franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women,” she told Deadline.

“I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.”

Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read and do, and also receive our 11-page Ultimate Guide To Making Your Home Feel Bigger.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Waller-Bridge added that she had long been drawn to Craig’s interpretation of the character.

“When I saw his Bond for the first time, there was a wryness to his performance that I really loved,” she said. “So I was really excited about writing dialogue for him. I mean, the script was there. It’s already there. I think it’s unfair to say that I’m writing the script.”

It remains to be seen what she has done for Craig’s Bond, which will likely prove the actor’s fifth and final outing as the spy following Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre.

Suffice to say, though, we’re very excited for it.

Image: Getty

Topics

Share this article

Author

Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray

Life

What will a James Bond film under the influence of Phoebe Waller-Bridge look like?

Bye bye, Bond girls.

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published
People

Phoebe Waller Bridge’s James Bond has been given a big feminist thumbs up on Twitter

Social media is going wild for the strong female leads in the new film.

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published
People

The James Bond team are finally creating a spy saga with a female lead

And the lead actress is rather unexpected...

Posted by
Moya Crockett
Published
People

Risqué love letters from James Bond creator Ian Fleming go on auction

Risqué love letters from James Bond creator Ian Fleming go on auction

Posted by
Stylist Team
Published
People

Idris Elba recalls childhood “trauma” that triggered his greatest fear

From his thoughts on death, to the real love of his life, what will Idris Elba make of our existential questions?

Posted by
Moya Lothian-McLean
Published