Idris Elba ‘part of the conversation’ to play James Bond, producers say

Elba could be edging closer to stepping into the role that over a half-dozen white actors helped iconize.

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For several years, the name Idris Elba has been floated as a possible replacement for Daniel Craig to portray James Bond, the iconic superspy made famous by British novelist Sir Ian Fleming‘s masterworks on page and over a half-dozen white actors in film. After nearly 20 years as the star of the franchise, 2021’s No Time To Die was reportedly Craig’s last turn as 007.

Could be that Elba is edging closer and closer to stepping into the role. 

Per IndieWire, in an interview on a Deadline podcast Wednesday, longtime Bond producer Barbara Broccoli raved about Elba, the former Luther star. “We know Idris, I’m friends with him,” she said. “He’s a magnificent actor.” 

Word has long had it that Idris Elba (above) has been floated as a possible replacement for Daniel Craig to portray iconic spy James Bond in the 007 films. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

Still, while Broccoli made clear she and other producers of the series are aware of fans’ desire and speculation about who could play Bond next, she chose to not consider casting choices until Craig had officially ended his tenure. 

“You know, [Elba has] been part of the conversation, but it’s always difficult to have a conversation when you have somebody in the seat,” Broccoli said. 

“I think we have decided that until No Time to Die has had its run, and Daniel has been able to — well, we’ve all been able to savor, reap the benefits of Daniel’s wonderful tenure, we’re not going to think about, or talk about, anybody else, actors to play the role, or storylines, or anything really,” she said. “We just want to live in the moment.”

The role of Bond originated with Dr. No in 1962, played by Sean Connery, who held the space in the ’60s, then again in the ’70s and ’80s. David Niven — who was reportedly Fleming’s first choice — played Bond in Casino Royale in 1967, and Australian actor George Lazenby took his turn in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service two years later.

Second to Connery’s legendary Bond portrayal is that of Roger Moore, who shined in the role for seven films. Timothy Dalton played the role twice, then Pierce Brosnan preceded Craig in the 1990s with four films. Craig took over in 2006 and has played Bond in five films.

IndieWire maintains that before Craig took over the role, the franchise was “becoming increasingly goofy and obsolete. If the James Bond producers want to keep his momentum going, they need to nail the next casting.” 

In an October 2021 interview with Esquire, Elba opined, “I say this in jest, but this is my answer to Bond. [Luther] is my big character that lives in the same space as the Bournes, as the Bonds in the world. Not in terms of spy works or spying, but this is a character that fights evil and then will stop at nothing to do it. And we created him from scratch.” 

“Me and [showrunner] Neil Cross really plowed our hearts into making John Luther,” Elba continued. “And I’ve never been more thankful for a character that keeps going. I love him. And it’s a hard character to play. It’s very absorbing, but I’ve liked bringing him to life every time. I’ve loved it.”

In response to questions about some of the racist rhetoric surrounding fan pushback against him playing James Bond, Elba noted, “If you get to a level like mine, I can’t sit here and worry about some di**head who’s got a pseudonym writing, ‘Idris is Black, he shouldn’t play. . . I don’t care; I shouldn’t care about that. Plus, I’ve got a thick skin, man. I’m old and ugly enough to know that they love you, then they hate you, then they love you again.”

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