James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli may be open to casting Idris Elba as Agent 007 in the future. Elba has long been a suggestion by fans to replace Daniel Craig once he retires from the role, but it has yet to come to any fruition. Craig is set to play James Bond at least one more time in Bond 25, which will begin production later this year under the direction of Danny Boyle.
James Bond has been played by a total of seven different actors on film, all of whom were white men. So, it’s been floated numerous times that it’s time for there to be either a person of color or a female Bond in the future, perhaps after Craig’s tenure is up. Hollywood is slowly but surely growing accustomed to blockbuster movies with non-white leads (not to mention non-male leads as well), which is why the idea of someone like Elba taking on the role is possibly being considered.
Daily Star reports that director Antoine Fuqua recently had a conversation with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli about potentially recasting Bond with a non-white actor. The article claims that Broccoli told Fuqua that “it is time” for a person of color to be cast in the role. She is also reported to have said that the casting of a minority as 007 “will happen eventually.” Fuqua then hinted that Elba could eventually be in the running for the role, saying, “Idris could do it if he was in shape. You need a guy with a physically strong presence. Idris has that.”
Elba has played various intimidating characters in the past. His standout performance as the ruthless Russell “Stringer” Bell in The Wire could certainly be translated into the cold killer aspect of James Bond’s character. Elba’s deep baritone voice worked perfectly for Shere Khan in Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book. Aside from villains, though, Elba has also played the hero in the BBC drama Luther, for which he won both a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe. This diverse, impressive resume would make him a natural choice to play 007 after Daniel Craig.
This news should be taken with a grain of salt, though, given that it comes from word of mouth through Fuqua rather than an interview with Broccoli herself. Even still, if it is true, it’s exciting that Broccoli might be considering a person of color to play James Bond. Most would argue that the role is not exclusive to just white men and would love to see it evolve. Broccoli’s words also do not guarantee that if a minority was cast, it would be Idris Elba who takes up the mantle. Given the Bond buzz surrounding him in the last few years, however, this could be one step closer.