With the pending release of Spectre, the 24th James Bond film, and the fourth to feature Daniel Craig as Her Majesty’s bestest spy, there has been none too idle speculation about who might take up the mantle (and the tux) next. Might the producers go for a Jane Bond? A James Bond of color? Or the inevitable stick with a white guy in his early 40s casting call that has worked so well thus far for the franchise? One name that constantly gets mentioned as a potential next Bond is Idris Elba, but according to one author who picked up Ian Fleming‘s pen to continue the written adventures of Bond disagrees, and his words may not be without some controversy.
While talking to The Daily Mail about his new Bond novel Trigger Mortis (awesome pun, but the way!), author Anthony Horowitz had the following to say concerning his thoughts about Elba drinking shaken martinis and firing Bond’s Walther PPK.
“Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better.” […] “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part.It’s not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”
To his credit Horowitz did say that he thought their were some black actors out there that could play the part, it’s just Elba that’s “too street” to do it justice. A legion of Elba’s fans would disagree though, and many of them have been pushing his name into consideration for the role once Craig gives it up, which will likely be the next movie after Spectre.
Strangely, Horowitz’s criticism of Elba’s Bond candidacy reminds me of the vitriolic reaction to Craig’s casting as Bond in 2005, where many people thought he was too short, too blonde, and too ugly to believably be 007. Some also cited the fact that Craig was going to play a grim and gritty Bond as a reason he was doomed to be a George Lazenby like failure (even though most Bond fans now agree that Lazenby’s only Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of the series’ best entries.) You might even say that Craig was “too street” to play Bond according to the best thinking online in 2005.
Still, for those holding out hope that Elba has a shot, no worries, because Horowitz has less than zero influence on the casting direction of future James Bond movies. Those decisions remain with EON Productions who have overseen the Bond franchise for now 53 years and counting. Time will tell who will become the seventh actor to be Bond after Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Craig.
Spectre will be in theaters worldwide this November.
UPDATE – 6:00PM EST: Novelist Anthony Horowitz issued an apology/clarification of his remarks via Twitter (and the Mary Sue).
I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence [full statement attached] pic.twitter.com/UD6ouA45Uv
— Anthony Horowitz (@AnthonyHorowitz) September 1, 2015