The James Bond character has had many superstars eager to fill its shoes, including Idris Elba. The respected actor has often received massive fan support for the role. But he wondered if certain audiences wanted him to be Bond for the wrong reasons.
Idris Elba felt it would be off-putting if fans wanted him to be James Bond for this reason
Elba usually finds his name attached to the James Bond character in one way or another. Even after Daniel Craig was secured as the character, Elba was still touted as a possible successor for the franchise. The actor was well aware of this seemingly overwhelming fan support he’d had for being the next Bond. And he once felt that if fans had the power of film studios, he might have been cast.
“I keep getting asked about James Bond, and that surprises me,” Elba once told Collider. “At first, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool, but it’s just a rumor.’ But, I’ve had really long discussions with fans about why they think I would be perfect, why it would be revolutionary and why I should do it. It’s quite deep. If the fans have any power, I’ll probably be the next James Bond, but I don’t think that’s how they do it.”
Years later, Elba offered up the possible reality that fans may have been more split about him being Bond than some realized. And he theorized that many supporters might have wanted him to be Bond for the wrong reasons.
“I suspect, all those people who say ‘he’s a great actor’… The idea of having a man that is Bond played by a black man is the contributing intrigue to the discussion. And that, for me, is an off-put,” he once said on Daily Record.
Idris Elba told this former Bond girl about his meeting with Barbara Broccoli
So far, the closest Elba has officially come to the Bond franchise was by speaking with veteran Bond producer Barbara Broccoli. But according to Elba, the two didn’t touch James Bond during their conversation. They linked up to discuss philanthropy.
But that didn’t stop others from getting excited about the potential implications of Elba having a meeting with the producer. Former Bond girl Naomie Harris worked alongside Elba in the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. While acting together, Elba let slip to Harris that he’d met with Broccoli. This had Harris anticipating Elba’s potential turn as Bond.
“I didn’t realize that there was this talk and then I did a film with Idris and he said that he met Barbara Broccoli and that it does seem like there is a possibility in the future that there could very well be a black James Bond. And I would have to vote for Idris because I just finished working with him and he’s a great guy,” Harris said in a 2012 interview with Huffpost.
Idris Elba once shared that playing James Bond isn’t a goal for him in his career
As much as some may still want Elba to play Bond, Elba himself seems to have moved on from the idea. Bond simply isn’t in any of his plans.
“It is not a goal for my career. I don’t think that playing Bond will satisfy some of my personal goals. It will definitely satisfy the will of a nation. I’m not gonna lie, every corner of the world I go, and I’m talking about different cultures, they always go ‘Bond.’ And I feel it is beyond me at this junction. It’s beyond me,” Elba once told The Shop (via GQ).
Instead, Elba much preferred to focus on another character. Since 2010, Elba has been tracking down serial killers in the hit television series Luther as tormented detective John Luther. For the actor, John Luther takes precedent over the MI6 agent.
“You know, a lot of people talk about another character that begins with ‘J’ and ends with ‘B,’ but I’m not going to be that guy. I’m going to be John Luther. That’s who I am,” Elba said recently according to Yahoo.