Idris Elba loved James Bond fan casts until “disgusting” racism ruined it

Cameron Frew
Idris Elba in Hijack

Idris Elba was honored by fans’ demand for him to play James Bond – but then it “became about race”, and the “disgusting” racism put him off.

Long before Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007 came to an end in No Time To Die, Elba was at the forefront of fan casts alongside Tom Hardy and Henry Cavill. Years later, bookmakers would have you believe he’s still in the running.

The truth is, he’s likely too old for it now: he’s 50, and given Craig portrayed Bond for 15 years until the age of 52, it’s hard to imagine that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson will want someone who isn’t in their early/mid-30s.

Nevertheless, the conversation persists, and it’s one Elba is happy to have. However, he’s been more candid about the role and the surrounding discourse in recent years.

Idris Elba says racists ruined James Bond fan casts

During a recent appearance on the SmartLess podcast, Elba admitted feeling “super complimented” about people wanting him to play the iconic secret agent, but the idea soured over time.

“I was like, ‘This is crazy!’ Because 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, ‘Okay, you’ve sort of reached the pinnacle’,” he said.

While the casting of the next Bond is “one of those things the whole world has a vote in”, Elba was put off by the racism that quickly infected the idea of Elba taking on the role.

“Essentially, it was a huge compliment that every corner of the world except from some corners, which we will not talk about, were really happy about the idea that I could be considered,” Elba added.

“Those that weren’t happy about the idea made the whole thing disgusting and off-putting because it became about race. It became about nonsense, and I got the brunt of it.”

You can find out everything we know about Bond 26, the next movie in the franchise, here.

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