by G. Brown
It’s getting to be a perennial question like ‘how was your vacay?’ or ‘what are you and the family doing for Christmas’? Except this question centers around one of Hollywood’s best and a starring role in a 55 year old movie franchise—is Idris Elba going to be the next James Bond?’
So it’s time for the annual, bi-annual or quarterly speculation about whether or not Idris Elba is being tapped to play the next James Bond. The last round of rumors erupted from a ground swell when a Sony studio exec threw his name out a good possibility to re-imagine and re-energize the Bond legacy. Daniel Craig will vacate the franchise when he shoots his fifth and final Bond film starting in December.
A recent fan poll of 1000 people in the UK listed Elba as the top candidate to carry the franchise into this new reiteration. He beat out Tom Hardy(Venom) and Tom Hiddleston(Loki from the Avengers’ movies). Impressive when you consider all of the other four contenders are White actors.
That’s only worth mentioning because the first time Elba’s name came up as a potential for the role in 2015 the chatter almost sparked a race war. Well, not really, but the prospect provoked some Bond fans to lose their minds. The writer penning the new “James Bond” novel told an interviewer back in 2015 that Elba is “probably a bit too street for Bond“–which some translated as meaning too Black to play the iconic role. Elba responded by taking the high road with a bit of humour sprinkled in…
That should have ended it all, but people like conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh kept the anti-Elba campaign going. Limbaugh had an on-air meltdown concluding, “James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming, he was white and Scottish, period. That is who James Bond is.” And other actors even ran with the ‘Bond has to be White’ banner including former Bond actor Roger Moore and Yaphet Kotto who said Elba could not be cast in the role because, “He [Bond] cannot be black. Political correctness be damned.” Kotto, the first Black actor to play a major Bond villain in 1973’s “Live and Let Die“, also added “Black men should stop trying to play roles created by whites. These roles are not written for black men.”
Elba finally grew weary of all the bitter bickering over the possibility of him landing the role. The conversation eventually waned to whispers until someone started stirring the Elba secret agent pot again. This time, it was Elba himself…
my name’s Elba, Idris Elba. pic.twitter.com/kEyyaVg8JX
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) August 12, 2018
And just like that, fans were whipped back in to the ‘Elba for Bond’ frenzy.
— NewNumbaWhoDis (@Zimmy222) August 12, 2018
If you’re the next Bond, it will be the first Bond film I ever see 😁😍
— Jo (@joaemp) August 12, 2018
Good thinking, I agree pic.twitter.com/lA64ZHIb0R
— @anelisegribel (@AneliseGribel) August 12, 2018
YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
— The Sassiest Semite (@LittleMissLizz) August 12, 2018
C’mon, Idris! Take the job, man! You know you’d have fun! And you know we’d break the bank taking our families and friends! Save the world, Idris! #BeBond!!!
— Vincent Wright 🌊 (@VincentWright) August 13, 2018
There were still some negative replies, but the majority seem to favor Elba for the role. While some thought it was simply time to update the Bond image, others say it’s not about whether a Black actor should fill the role, but rather making sure the actor chosen can live up to the role. The broader discussion shouldn’t be…’it’s time for a Black Bond’, but does it matter the color of the actor if he delivers?
What do you think…is Elba a good choice? Or should he just let it go and let some other actor have a shot at the role?