There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years about who the next actor to play James Bond should be, and one of the names that is most frequently brought up is Idris Elba. There are plenty of people on both sides of this argument, and not being afraid to weigh in on a topic, we’re going to ask: should Idris Elba play James Bond?
He’s black – There, I said it. I could try to say it more subtly (he’s so street!), but this is in a way his biggest selling point. Diversity is a big deal to large groups of audience members, and it would no doubt satisfy a lot of people to have an actor who isn’t a white male cast in such a big role. Colin Salmon (for those that don’t know, he’s another black actor) was once considered for the role. He was thought of so well that he was given a part in the franchise as Charles Robinson. The only reason he wasn’t cast? It was the 90’s man! It was a different time!
He suits the part – One thing nobody is really arguing is that Idris Elba could play the role of Bond very well. He can do the whole ‘damaged hero’ thing very well, he’s plausibly tough, and he’s handsome and charming enough to be a convincing ladies man.
Luther – If anybody is unconvinced of the above point, watch the TV series Luther. On top of being an excellent standalone series, it’s basically an audition tape for Elba’s Bond.
It would open the door – A casting like this in one of the biggest franchises of all time would be good for the industry. If this happens and it’s a success, more studios might take this kind of risk in the future, to the point where it’s no longer looked at as being a risk.
My parents love him – Alright so my parents might not specifically be important, but the fact that he has wide appeal is. I’m a big fan of Elba, but I’m a fan of most people who are in sci-fi or action films. My parents aren’t as easily pleased as me, but they still like him as much as I do. Being likable is a big part of being a movie star, and Idris Elba certainly ticks that box.
He’s Black – Ok calm down, allow me to explain. As I’ve said before, I believe the makers of the Bond films have their hands tied, and it’s their own fault. In the most recent film in the franchise, Skyfall, James Bond visits his family home. What this means is that every Bond film is now about the same man. I could believe that Sean Connery is the same man as Pierce Brosnan, but now you want to tell me that Daniel Craig is the same person as Idris Elba? Even in a film I’m going to have trouble believing that.
His age – Daniel Craig has one Bond film left on his contract after Spectre. Realistically this mean he’s going to be playing the role for another two or three years. Idris Elba is five years younger than Craig, and the earliest he would take over the role is in about five years. This means he would get about one film until he was the same age Daniel Craig was when he was doing his last film. If you’re trying to turn his casting into a serious run of films, his age is working against him. We don’t want another Roger Moore in A View to a Kill after all.
Too similar to Daniel Craig? – In every way other than appearance, these two actors are very similar. Historically, Bond actors change their feel a little with every casting. Connery – serious, Moore – silly (Lazenby didn’t get much of a chance so never really found his feet), Dalton – serious, Brosnan – silly, Craig – serious, Elba – serious? I know the more serious tone has been working for them recently, but don’ we want a bit of a change?
He’s not a box office draw – Even though he has been a part of big films (Age of Ultron anybody?), Elba has never been the lead character in a successful film, so much so that his latest film, Beast of No Nation, has gone straight to Netflix. He’s also made quite a few films that didn’t perform particularly well.
It’s a risk – This is ultimately what it comes down to. It would be great if this wasn’t even an issue, but the reason is that casting a black actor in a traditionally white role is a risk, and studios aren’t usually too comfortable taking risks, not when money’s involved.
What do you think about Idris Elba? Do you think he would make a good James Bond? Share any thoughts in the comments.
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