The case for Idris Elba to be the next James Bond

by Jenny Nicholls / 13 August, 2018
Elba, Idris Elba. Photo/Getty.

Elba, Idris Elba. Photo/Getty.

Will British actor Idris Elba be the first black Bond?

Exhibit one: Bond producer Barbara Broccoli's recent statement that "it is time" for a non-white actor to take on the role.

Exhibit two: Elba's Sunday tweet: "my name's Elba, Idris Elba."

Now that 50-year-old Daniel Craig is rumoured to be hanging up his Walther PPK, Idris is a leading contender to play the world's most famous spy, although English bookies favour Tom Hardy aka "Mad Max" Rockatansky. But Elba is running second, ahead of Homeland's Damian Lewis, Poldark's Aidan Turner, The Night Manager's old Etonian Tom Hiddleston and Superman star Henry Cavill.

You will be relieved to know North & South has done the heavy lifting on this question, so you don't have to. We find for Idris Elba, by an Aston Martin's length. To be honest, if Elba spent 100 minutes on film doing up his shoelaces, we would be burning a vapour trail to the box office to watch him do it.

Elba first sauntered dangerously into our world as the ganglord-businessman "Stringer" Bell in HBO series The Wire, so strangely charismatic he could dominate a scene without opening his mouth. But it was as introspective train-wreck Detective John Luther in the BBC series Luther that really rang our bells.

The man can act. Not only that, he is a towering streak of cool, the dudiest dude in England. His competition for the role of 007 lacks this crucial quality. Turner (ex-Poldark) glowers too much, and Tom Hardy... (Tom who? You ask? Exactly.) Lewis (ex-Homeland) appears to have difficulty speaking. Are his jaws wired shut? Tom Hiddleston is too Pierce Brosnan. Henry Cavill, it's true, revealed serious martini-sipping form as  Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. But that perfect face has the inner life of a Brandy Alexander. As James Bond, Daniel Craig suffered, and he did it magnificently. He was more than just a cocktail.

The exploding gold cufflinks can go to only one man.

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