Idris Elba has poured a large glass of cold water – shaken, not stirred – over the idea that he will be the first black James Bond.
Asked about British bookmakers having him neck and neck with former Homeland star Damian Lewis to replace Daniel Craig, the actor best known for The Wire, Luther and Thor said it was all speculation.
“It’s just a rumour,” Elba told Britain’s Radio Times. “I have no idea.”
While conjecture about actors in contention to play Bond is traditional theatre in the lead-up to a new movie in the long-running series – Spectre opens around the world in November – there was support for a black 007 in an email that emerged during the hack on Sony Pictures.
“Idris should be the next Bond,” studio chief Amy Pascal wrote in an e-mail to another Hollywood executive.
Former James Bond Pierce Brosnan and Kanye West were among those who endorsed him for the role. And Elba has previously said he would definitely accept the role if it was offered to him.
But with Craig contracted for at least one more movie after Spectre there is no rush to replace him.
That has not stopped British bookmaker Paddy Power from framing a field dominated by well-known British actors, with Lewis marginally favourite (6/4) ahead of Elba, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Tom Hardy and X-Men First Class’s Michael Fassbender (all 4/1), Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill (7/1), The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln, Lord of the Rings‘ Orlando Bloom and The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage (all 12/1).
After that, it starts to seem unlikely with Thor’s Tom Hiddleston The Transporter’s Jason Statham and Fifty Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan (all 14/1). A blonde Bond is one thing; a Fifty Shades of Grey one is a different matter entirely.
Sam Worthington, who was down to the final few candidates when Craig was cast for the first time in Casino Royale, is the highest-rated Australian (25/1), though he has publically said he has no interest in the role, followed by Guy Pearce (40/1) and Chris Hemsworth (50/1).
The likelihood is the filmmakers will replace Craig with a white accomplished actor with strong physical presence who can carry off suave and dangerous. He will be more youthful than Roger Moore was when he lumbered around after Grace Jones in A View To A Kill, have a touch more humour than Timothy Dalton and deliver a snappy line better than George Lazenby.
Chances are he will be British given the likely outcry if he was American or Australian.
If the role was being cast now, Fassbender and possibly Hardy would have to give Elba a run for his money.
But in two, three or even five years, the producers may want to take a different direction with the famous British agent.
If Elba is in the running then, he will not be the only chance for the first black Bond, with other candidates likely to include 12 Years A Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor, Selma’s David Oyelowo and John Boyega, who has a leading role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald