The Sad Reason Idris Elba Lost Interest in Playing James Bond

When the rumors of Elba’s potential casting as 007 began circulating, the actor was elated. He felt that James Bond would be quite the feather in his cap, as they are some of the most visible films that world cinema currently has to offer. However, when Elba kept on hearing more and more mentions of his race, he wanted the part less and less. Elba, a Black man, encountered numerous creeps and bigots who complained that James Bond needs to be white. Author Anthony Horowitz, as far back as 2015, even wrote that Elba was “too street” to play James Bond, projecting a racist stereotype onto the actor. (Horowitz eventually apologized.)

Elba recalled the early salad days of wanting to play James Bond with the “SmartLess” hosts Jason Bateman, Shawn Hays, and Will Arnett, saying: 

“The truth is, I was super complimented for a long time about this. I was like, ‘This is crazy!’ James Bond … We’re all actors and we understand that role. It’s one of those coveted [roles]. Being asked to be James Bond was like, ‘Ok, you’ve sort of reached the pinnacle’. That’s one of those things the whole world has a vote in.”

There were certainly a number of people familiar with the rumors who likely voted enthusiastically in the affirmative. Elba possessed 007’s sexiness, and could easily play the part with dapper, upper-crust sensibilities while also projecting Bond’s requisite twinkling roguishness.

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