Back to IndieWire

David Oyelowo Will Be the First Black Actor to Play James Bond – At Least on an Audiobook

David Oyelowo Will Be the First Black Actor to Play James Bond - At Least on an Audiobook

David Oyelowo can officially claim to be the first black actor to play James Bond – at least, in audiobook form. Not on the screen. Sorry if I got your hopes up!

Oyelowo has been tapped to portray 007 (and other characters) in an audio recording of the new Bond novel titled “Trigger Mortis,” the UK newspaper The Guardian reported today.

“I was asked specifically by the Fleming estate, which is really special,” the star of “Selma” said, adding, “I am officially the only person on planet Earth who can legitimately say ‘I am the new James Bond’… even saying that name is the cinematic equivalent of doing the ‘to be or not to be’ speech.”

And for you “Idris Elba for James Bond” fans who might be be worried that Oyelowo’s new apparent coziness with the Fleming estate (as in Ian Fleming, the late author of the original novels) may mean that they also may want him to play the character on the big screen, consider that even Oyelowo believes that Elba is “ripe” for the screen role of Bond, calling his fellow British actor “a titan on screen,” adding that “he has all the qualities that you’d want in a James Bond.”

“Because films and TV affect culture, a black Bond would be a cultural event, a statement, beyond just entertainment,” he said.

Although, earlier this year, Elba, speaking to an audience at London’s British Film Institute yesterday, 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.” 

Will there ever be a black James Bond? I don’t particularly care (I’d rather see an original black action hero created from scratch, or an adaptation of any number of novels by black authors that star heroic black characters). But maybe you care…

No word on when Oyelowo’s audiobook reading of “Trigger Mortis” will become available.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged