When rumors of Elba’s potential casting as 007 started circulating, the actor was thrilled. He felt that James Bond would be quite the feather in his cap, as they are among the most visible films that world cinema currently has to offer. However, as Elba heard more and more about his race, he wanted the part less and less. Elba, a black man, encountered many creeps and fanatics who complained that James Bond had to be white. Author Anthony Horowitz, as early as 2015, even wrote that Elba was “too street” to play James Bond, projecting a racist stereotype on the actor. (Horowitz eventually apologized.)
Elba recalled Salad’s early days of wanting to play James Bond with “SmartLess” hosts Jason Bateman, Shawn Hays and Will Arnett, saying:
“The truth is, I got super complimented for a long time on this. I was like, ‘This is crazy!’ James Bond… We’re all actors and we understand this role, it’s one of the coveted ones [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 a vote for.”
There were certainly a number of people familiar with the rumors who probably enthusiastically voted in the affirmative. Elba possessed 007’s sexiness and could easily play the role with dapper, upper-crust sensibilities while projecting the scintillating mischief required of Bond.