Idris Elba ‘Disheartened’ by Racist James Bond Casting Backlash

Actor Idris Elba at the House Of Fraser British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall, LONDON, UK, MAY 8, 2016. (Credit: Twocoms/Deposit Photos)

For years, Idris Elba’s fans have been clamoring for him to be named the next James Bond, but the actor says he’s bothered by others who don’t think he could play 007 because he’s black.

“You just get disheartened when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be.’ And it really turns out to be the color of my skin,” Elba said in the cover story for the August issue of Vanity Fair.

“And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the color of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to,” he added.

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The British star, whose resume includes Luther, The Wire and Beasts of No Nation, told the magazine he’s never expressed interest in the role. But if approached, he’d say yes.

“James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character, that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey,” he said. “Of course, if someone said to me ‘Do you want to play James Bond?,’ I’d be like, Yeah! That’s fascinating to me. But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond.”

Elba thinks the next actor to play Bond, when Daniel Craig leaves the franchise, should be someone you’d least expect.

“We’re talking about a spy,” Elba said. “If you really want to break it down, the more less-obvious it is, the better.”

The latest film in the franchise, Bond 25, is currently shooting and will be released in April 2020.