Speaking to an audience at London’s British Film Institute yesterday, Idris Elba shared his thoughts on all the “Idris Elba for James Bond” chatter that began a couple of years ago, culminating most recently with former Bond star, Roger Moore’s challenged comments on 007 being played by an English actor.
“It’s a rumor that’s really started to eat itself,” said Elba, adding, “If there was a chance of me getting Bond, it’s gone.”
Essentially, we’ve all ruined his chances because we’ve been talking about it too much. Too much hype, so much that there was commentary not only on the actual possibility of him playing Bond, but also on the hype itself, which got its own headlines.
But maybe it could still become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The 42-year-old star also took the opportunity to clear up rumors that he had actually met with with Bond producers, saying it “never happened,” maybe speaking to 007 co-star Naomie Harris’ revelation in a 2012 interview with Huffington Post (during a press tour for “Skyfall”), 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.”
He added that it was actually current Bond, Daniel Craig, who originally sparked the idea: “Daniel Craig actually set the rumor off. About 4 years ago he said Idris Elba would be a great Bond and then it started to creep. I blame Daniel.”
Further, Elba addressed Sir Roger Moore’s comments on Bond being played by an actor who is “English-English” (comments that Moore himself later said were “lost in translation”): “I was born here. I was born in England, born and raised,” Idris said to the audience.
Additionally, he also revealed that his record label (who he signed with a year ago) had let him go, because his most recent album apparently didn’t do very well in terms of sales: ”The label dropped me after this album,” he said, because his music was “not commercial enough” for the company. “It’s a risk to make a record with an actor and not everyone’s going to believe in that. In an industry that’s suffering, they have to put their money with the winners… It’s not commercial enough. Labels are suffering, there’s not a number one record on it – how do they justify spending money on it? I get it.”
At least he understands the business, and isn’t bitter about it. Time to move on I suppose. He did say that he would continue to pursue music: ”If I didn’t get signed again, it wouldn’t stop me making another album. I’d just find another way to fund it.”
By any means necessary, right?
So that’s that… he seems to believe that his chances of ever playing Bond are now zero (thanks to the frenzy), although he didn’t say that he wouldn’t accept the role if it was offered, so for those who are still hoping that he eventually does take over for Craig, keep hope alive!
Although, as I’ve mentioned before, 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 later this year). Since the franchise, under the Broccoli production era, began in 1962, the company has produced a new James Bond film about every 2 years on average. Although there was a 4 year gap prior to “Skyfall,” and now a 3-year gap between “Skyfall” and the upcoming “Spectre.” So if the every-two-years trend continues, Craig’s last film would probably be released no earlier than 2017, which means that, if the plan then is for a “black Bond” to replace him, Elba’s Bond film would most likely be a 2019 (at the earliest) story – at least 4 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 film. 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; and if it’s not just a one-and-done deal – meaning, he’ll carry the franchise for several installments – he’d be well into his 50s by the time his term is up. But that won’t be too bad, because Roger Moore was also well into his 50s by the time he left the franchise. Connery was just getting into his 50s at the end of his run. Brosnan was 49 and Craig will also be about that age when his contract ends.
But age is just a number right? If he’s up for the role, and is fit for it 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 ming.