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When ‘It Became About Race,’ Idris Elba No Longer Wanted to Be James Bond

Published on June 29th, 2023 | Updated on June 29th, 2023 | By FanFest

Idris Elba recently shared his thoughts on his past desire to portray James Bond in a film, revealing that his enthusiasm faded when the discussion turned to race. During an appearance on the Smartless podcast with hosts Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes, Elba discussed his stance on the matter. He initially felt flattered when rumors circulated about him potentially taking on the iconic role of the cinematic super-spy, comparing it to being named “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2018 by PEOPLE. However, things took a different turn.

“As actors, we understand that certain roles are highly coveted. It’s like being named the ‘Sexiest Man Alive,'” Elba stated. “But being considered for James Bond was like reaching the pinnacle. I felt incredibly complimented by the idea, which was embraced by nearly everyone around the world—except for a few corners we won’t dwell on. Unfortunately, those few detractors turned it into something disgusting and disheartening, making it about race. I bore the brunt of that.”

When 'It Became About Race,' Idris Elba No Longer Wanted to Be James Bond

In recent years, there has been much speculation about who would take on the role of James Bond following Daniel Craig’s tenure, which began with “Casino Royale” in 2006 and concluded with “No Time to Die” in 2021. While Elba seems to have ruled out the possibility of becoming the British secret agent, the producers of the James Bond franchise stated in 2022 that he is still “part of the conversation” for the next 007 film. During an interview on Deadline’s Crew Call podcast, James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson revealed that Elba has been discussed as a potential candidate. “We know Idris…he’s a magnificent actor,” Broccoli playfully remarked.

In a 2019 interview with Vanity Fair, Elba expressed his interest in the role, saying that if given the opportunity, he would absolutely accept the chance to portray the British superspy. “Of course, if someone asked me, ‘Do you want to play James Bond?’ I’d say, ‘Yeah!’ That would be fascinating to me,” Elba explained. “But it’s not something I’ve actively pursued, like, ‘Yeah, I want to be the black James Bond.'”

Elba also candidly addressed the critics who opposed his potential casting solely based on his race. “It’s disheartening when people from different generations say, ‘It can’t be.’ And it ultimately comes down to the color of my skin. If I were to get the role, would it be because of my abilities or the color of my skin? It’s a difficult situation to put myself in when it’s not necessary.”

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