The Bond team may not yet know who will replace Daniel Craig, who completed his last day in the role nearly four years ago. But for years and years, a lot of people have known who they want: they want Idris Elba. Alas, Elba has long said he doesn’t want the gig, though he’s never really given an answer as to why. Now he’s finally provided a reason, and it’s a good one.
According VarietyElba recently appeared on the podcast SmartLesswhere he started by saying he was at least initially 007.
“The truth is, I got super complimented for a long time on this,” Elba admitted. “I was like, ‘This is crazy!’ James Bond… We are all actors and we understand this role, it is one of those coveted [roles]. When I was asked to be James Bond, it was like, “Okay, you’ve kind of reached the top.” It’s one of those things the whole world has the right to vote for.
Unfortunately, not everyone was in it, and by “not everyone” we mean the usual suspects. “Essentially, it was a huge compliment that every corner of the world, except for some corners, which we won’t talk about, were really happy that I could be considered,” Elba explained. “Those who weren’t happy with the idea made it all disgusting and off-putting, because it became about race. It became nonsense and I paid the price.
It’s not uncommon for non-white artists to be trashed by fanatics when they land key roles in a major IP. Just ask John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran and Moses Ingram, who were all plagued by abuse when they joined the star wars-verse.
Elba has spoken in the past about not wanting to be seen as a “black actor.” He said United Kingdom in February that as human beings we are obsessed with race and that this obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth. Racism should be a topic of discussion, of course. Racism is very real. But from my point of view, it’s only as powerful as you let it be.
As such, he “stopped describing me as a black actor when I realized it put me in a box,” adding, “We have to grow up. We must. Our skin is nothing more than that: it’s just skin. Go wild.
So if you were one of the many who wanted Idris Elba to drink shaken martinis and drive an Aston Martin, you know who to blame.