Idris Elba reveals why he removed himself from the Bond conversation

Idris Elba in Luther
(Image credit: BBC)

Idris Elba has revealed why he removed himself from the James Bond casting conversation. In a new interview with SmartLess, the Marvel actor opened up on how racist backlash put him off the idea of playing 007 after Daniel Craig.

"The truth is, I was super complimented for a long time about this," Elba explained, while promoting his upcoming Apple TV Plus series Hijack. "I was like, 'This is crazy! James Bond?' We're all actors, and we understand that role. It's one of those coveted [parts]. Being asked to be James Bond was like, 'Ok, you've sort of reached the pinnacle.' That's one of those things the whole world has a vote in."

"It was a huge compliment that every corner of the world except from some corners, which we will not talk about, were really happy about the idea that I could be considered," the British actor added. "Those that weren't happy about the idea made the whole thing disgusting and off-putting because it became about race. It became about nonsense, and I got the brunt of it."

Ever since Luther, the hit BBC series, was released in 2010, fans have been calling for Elba to play Bond, claiming that he'd be the perfect step-in to play the iconic secret agent following his stint as the titular, brawl-loving detective. Elba's recent comments echo ones he made in a chat with Esquire UK earlier this year, where he noted that he was no longer "describing myself as a Black actor" because he found it inadvertently reductive.

"As humans, we are obsessed with race, and that obsession can really hinder people's aspirations, hinder people's growth," he said at the time. "Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure. Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it's only as powerful as you allow it to be."

While Elba won't be stepping into his shoes anytime soon, Craig portrayed Bond for the last time in No Time to Die. Last we heard, franchise producer Barbara Broccoli said back in February that the recasting process had not even begun yet, and that there's currently no script floating around for the next installment. 

For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies heading our way in 2023 and beyond.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.