Chew on this for a second: Idris Elba was Stringer Bell… is detective John Luther… and could one day be James Bond? Boom! It kind of sits on your tongue for a bit doesn’t it? Let the idea roll around and then… POW! the flavor hits your taste buds.
Actually it’s an old rumor that people love to throw around whenever a Hollywood is graced with a captivating British actor. Elba is one of the names that has some real traction and people can’t help but put his name in the hat of every cool role not attached to anyone–Luke Cage anyone? Elba did the promotional tour for the second season of Luther which returned to BBC America this past Wednesday, at 7PM and 10PM.
The 39-year old London-native was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition where he answered a question about long standing rumor around who the next actor would assume the mantle of 007 following Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and most recently Daniel Craig. He said that if Sony called him up, he’d be interested. He explained that the one thing holding him back would be that he not “be the black James Bond,” he explains. “Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.” This spinning out of a conversation he had with his father on whether or not he’d take the role.
And that’s understandable because that’s honestly what general audiences would probably call him because that’s what people do, because it’s easier to separate the experience playing iconic roles as something that’s gender or race-specific. We saw how people reacted to a black Spider-Man. There was even chatter about Elba’s portrayal of Heimidal in Thor.
When nudged by NPR’s Linda Wertheimer on whether or not he’d get in the cab if Sony would send one to meet with him, Elba said, “I’d not only get in the cab,” he says, “but I’d take the taxi driver out of the car, hostage. The taxi, jump out while it was moving, jump onto a pedal bike that was just past the door as I got on it, and then get onto a plane — on the wing — land on top of Sony Studios, slide through the air conditioning, and land in the office.”
Elba echoed similar statements in a CNN piece where he stresses that “I didn’t come to the States to play black roles. I just came to play roles.”
Much has been made about the intensity of Craig’s portrayal of Agent 007 and how much of a mean streak he has as opposed to the more comedic Moore or the charismatic Connery since he starred in Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008). Based on his work on HBO’s The Wire and BBC’s Luther Elba’s capable of taking Bond to an even darker, grittier place if it were demanded.
But Elba isn’t the only name that’s been volleyed around. Michael Fassbender who was marvelous in Inglourious Basterds and was riveting in X-Men: First Class as the young Magneto was asked as well like in this piece for Screenrant.
Oddly enough both Elba and Fassbender are starring in the much-anticipated Ridley Scott film, Prometheus. What I find amusing about the conversation is that Craig has in no way hinted that Bond 23 would be his last as 007, yet everyone can’t help but to speculate who the next guy is going to be. There was some trepidation on Craig’s part in the upcoming 23rd Bond film, understandably so when MGM went bankrupt on and the future of Bond films dangled until Sony swooped up to finance.
Bond 23 is currently in pre-production and will be released in in November 9, 2012 and will be directed by Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition). So with these latest quotes from Elba, who would you like to see take on the role after Bond 23?