I can’t say there’s much to get excited about here, because it really all stems from a single sentence in an email sent on January 4, 2014, from Sony chief Amy Pascal to Elizabeth Cantillon, former executive vice president of production for Sony subsidiary Columbia Pictures (distributor of the James Bond films) which simply says, “Idris should be the next Bond.”
Idris, as in Idris Elba, of course.
This leak (courtesy of Daily Beast) comes about 2 years after Elba’s name was being tossed around as the heir apparent to Daniel Craig. Since then, it’s been 2 years of nothing but speculation, as well as the hopes and dreams of many. Elba has said he’d be interested in the part if it was offered to him.
“007” co-star Naomie Harris did reveal in a 2012 interview with Huffington Post (during a press tour for “Skyfall,” the last Bond movie), that Elba told her he’d met with Barbara Broccoli (producer of the Bond movies), adding 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.”
If the producers do decide to go down that path, Idris would be a really good choice. He has the screen presence (especially since the shift to a more rugged James Bond, with Daniel Craig in 2005), and, to top it all off, he’s also British!
I can see him as a continuation of this new-age 007.
But if it is to happen, it wouldn’t be any time soon, since Craig is signed up for 2 more James Bond movies (including the upcoming “Spectre” which will be out next year). And given that, since the franchise under the Broccoli production era began in 1962, the company has produced a new James Bond film about every 2 years. Although there was a 4 year gap prior to “Skyfall.”
So if that every-two-years trend continues, Craig’s reign would continue through, at least, 2017 – less than 3 years from now – which means that, if the plan is then for a “black Bond” to replace him, the Elba’s Bond film would most likely be a 2019 story – 5 years from now.
And assuming it will be Idris, he’ll be 47 years old by then; a seasoned age to begin your Bond career. Daniel Craig started when he was 38; Sean Connery was just 32 years old when he made his first Bond film; Roger Moore was 46; Pierce Brosnan was 42. Timothy Dalton was in his very early 40s. David Niven was 56 when he played Bond for his first and only time. So he didn’t have to carry the franchise for years like the others have. The same goes for George Lazenby, who was just 30 in his Bond film.
So Idris taking over the role at 47/48 years old, would put him just above Roger Moore.
But age is just a number right? If he’s up for the role when the time comes, then why not?
And if he’s not, but there’s still a desire to have the character played by a black actor, it’s a role that could very well go to some younger black British actor. Although no one immediately comes to me.
But all of this is pure speculation anyway, until we know with certainty that Broccoli is definitely considering a near-future black Bond era; Amy Pascal’s leaked email doesn’t really tell us much, other than, in January of this year, she felt that Idris Elba should be the next Bond. But how much input does she really have on that decision? Sony is the film’s distributor, but I wouldn’t assume that what the studio wants, goes. Ultimately, I believe the Broccoli family hold the keys.