Elba to play first black Bond?

Idris Elba
Idris Elba

LONDON • Will Idris Elba get the licence to kill? The British actor fuelled speculation on Sunday that he may be named the first black James Bond, with a cryptic tweet.

"My name's Elba, Idris Elba," he tweeted, echoing the super spy's famous catchline: "The name is Bond, James Bond."

The message sent fans into a frenzy of excitement, as rumours abound that Elba may be named to succeed Daniel Craig as the next incarnation of 007.

Craig will return for the fifth time as Bond next year, in an as-yetunnamed movie directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle.

Elba, 45, made his name in gritty American television drugs drama The Wire (2002 to 2008) and won a Golden Globe for his role as a detective in Luther (2010 to present), before moving to the big screen.

The son of a car factory worker from London, he is now one of Hollywood's most sought-after stars.

He has been in blockbusters such as Thor (2011) and Pacific Rim (2013) and was nominated for a Golden Globe for playing the title role in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (2013). He has been linked to the Bond franchise since 2014, though he has previously said he thought he might be too old.

Fresh rumours emerged last week amid reports that Bond producer Barbara Broccoli said it was "time" for a black actor to take the role, reported Agence France-Presse. However, a spokesman for the alleged source of this quote, director Antoine Fuqua, told the Hollywood Reporter that he and Ms Broccoli had never discussed Bond or casting.

But if the rumour pans out, Mr David Black, who helps run the James Bond International Fan Club, will be left shaken and stirred, the BBC reported. "It was created by (author) Ian Fleming and it was his work of art," said Mr Black. "Surely you should be as true as you can be to what he wanted. Otherwise, where do we end up?"

Still, he thinks there is a place for Idris, who "would absolutely make a very good Bond villain".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2018, with the headline 'Elba to play first black Bond?'. Print Edition | Subscribe