SHAKEN NOT STIRRED: ACCLAIMED James Bond Producer Barbara Broccoli Talks Up Possibility Of Idris Elba As 007, But Should She?
As Daniel Craig and Danny Boyle prepare pre-production for the as-of-yet untitled Bond 25, the franchise producer, Barbara Broccoli has reportedly spoken about the next step for 007. Many names have been touted as a potential candidate for the role but Idris Elba has always been towards the top of the list.
Bond producer Barbara Broccoli reportedly said that “it is time” for an ethnic minority actor to star as 007 and that she is certain that “it will happen eventually”. Broccoli was then apparently asked about Elba specifically and went on to claim that “Idris could do it if he was in shape. You need a guy with physically strong presence. Idris has that.”
With the tuxedo, fast cars and Walther PPK, James Bond is one of the most iconic characters in film history. Few characters have had as large of an effect on popular culture with Bond being a subject of parody in films like Austin Powers and Johnny English to homage in franchises like Jason Bourne and Kingsman. 007 has a famous Martini cocktail named after him, a range of aftershaves and even, according to Betway, a roulette games strategy named after him.
Since the franchise’s 1962 big screen debut, Dr. No, six actors have taken on the role of James Bond, offering their own individual takes on Ian Fleming’s gentleman spy. Sean Connery was the first and Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have all followed. For years, speculation has been rampant about Craig’s future in the role. After Spectre finished shooting, Craig was quite public about his reluctance to the idea of a fifth outing at 007.
“Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. We’re done. All I want to do is move on." Craig said in a 2015 interview. He did, however, hint that he could reprise the role further down the line.
“For at least a year or two, I just don’t want to think about it. I don’t know what the next step is...If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.”
We may never know whether that turned out to be the case but Craig will appear in Danny Boyle’s Bond 25. It is scheduled for theatres next year but after that, things are unclear as far as the next actor is concerned. Idris Elba has, of course, been linked with the job for a long time and as they years have passed it has become clearer that the Luther star may not even want it.
“It feels like I’m campaigning, and I’m not,” Elba told The Telegraph back in 2015.
“I’m probably the most famous Bond actor in the world, and I’ve not even played the role. Enough is enough. I can’t talk about it anymore.”
The news has, unsurprisingly, led to some backlash from certain areas of social and traditional media. Elba would be the first black actor to play James Bond and even Daniel Craig drew some attention for having the audacity to become the first blond man to play 007. But Craig didn’t have to deal with the obvious dog-whistle racism which is fuelling the majority of the objection to Elba’s potential appointment. The argument that ‘he doesn’t look like the previous actor’ fails to hold up given the fact that 6 completely different looking people have come before him without so much as a raised eyebrow.
There are some other downsides to taking on the role of James Bond. 007 is a career-defining role which isn’t always a good thing. Actors are reportedly banned from ever wearing a tuxedo on-screen again after wearing one for a Bond movie, as Pierce Brosnan discovered when shooting The Thomas Crown Affair. The character of Bond is also a figure of a bygone era. Some of the earlier films feature scenes of such blatant misogyny that they wouldn’t be anywhere near a blockbuster movie today, something which the Daniel Craig films have attempted to undo.
But Elba, for his credit, wants to take things in a different direction.
“Are we interested in having a Bond character other than being a male?” Elba asked Variety back in January.
“Could be a woman, could be a black woman, could be a white woman, but I think, that character, everybody would like to see it have — do something different with it, why not?”
Why not, indeed?