Idris Elba is opening up about the “daunting” backlash to the decades-old rumor that he’ll be playing James Bond.
Elba, who has even been cast by fans as 007 by fellow actors like Tom Hanks, admitted during the “SmartLess” Podcasts. who found it a “huge compliment” until discussions of his race tainted him.
“The truth is, I’ve been super complimented for this for a long time. I was like, ‘This is crazy!’ James Bond,” Elba said. “We are all actors and we understand that role. It’s one of those scopes (roles). When I was asked to be James Bond, he was like, ‘Okay, you’ve peaked.’ This is one of those things that the whole world has one vote on.
The “Hijack” star continued: “Essentially, it was a huge compliment that every corner of the world except a few corners, which we won’t go into, was really happy with the idea of me being considered. Those who weren’t happy with the idea made the whole thing disgusting and daunting, because it became a race issue. It became nonsense and I bore the brunt of it.
In September 2022, Elba clarified that it’s “not a goal for my career” to play Bond on screen. “I don’t think, you know, playing Bond is going to fulfill some of my personal goals,” the “Wire” alum said at the time. It will certainly satisfy the will of a nation. I’m not going to lie, I go to every corner of the world, and talk about different cultures, they always say “Bond”, and I feel like it’s beyond me at this intersection. It’s beyond my possibilities. You know, it’s not a question of, should I, I will, I will. It is what sometimes dictates the will of the nation.
He added of being the first Black Bond, “I’m not that guy, but in everyone’s world I could be. And that work has been done, because the truth is, a lot of people really see Idris playing Bond as the ‘alternative Bond’. And as long as that alternative exists, it’s great for dick casting growth.
Bond producer Barbara Broccoli confirmed Elba was “part of the conversation” for the casting, but later revealed Daniel Craig’s Bond replacement will be a younger actor in his thirties.