Idris Elba Got Turned Off From Playing James Bond When ‘It Became About Race’: It ‘Made the Whole Thing Disgusting and Off-Putting’

Idris Elba

Idris Elba Reveals Disinterest in Playing James Bond Due to Racial Focus

Idris Elba has been central to James Bond casting rumors for years. Still, the actor recently confessed during an episode of the "SmartLess" podcast that he became disenchanted with the idea when discussions began revolving around race. One notable incident occurred in 2015 when author Anthony Horowitz controversially described Elba as "to street" to portray the iconic secret agent.

Initially, Elba felt flattered by the prospect of playing Bond. He remarked, "I was genuinely honored for quite some time by this. I thought, 'This is crazy!' James Bond... We're all actors, and we comprehend the significance of that role. It's one of those highly coveted roles. Being asked to portray James Bond was like reaching the pinnacle. It's something the entire world has a say in."

Elba continued, acknowledging the global support for his potential casting, saying, "It was a huge compliment. Almost every corner of the world was genuinely thrilled with the possibility of my consideration. Those who were displeased made the situation distasteful and unappealing because it became solely about race.

As the conversation around Elba taking on the role of Bond increasingly fixated on race, he gradually lost interest in headlining the 007 franchise. The actor previously voiced his frustration with being labeled a "Black actor." In a February interview with Esquire U.K., Elba admitted that he refrains from using the term as it imposes limitations on his career.

Elba stressed the need for personal growth and overcoming societal preoccupations with race. He stated, "Humans tend to obsess over race, which can hinder people's aspirations and personal development. Racism is a subject worthy of discussion, no doubt. It is a harsh reality. However, from my perspective, its power only extends as far as we allow it."

He further asserted, "I ceased referring to myself as a Black actor when I realized it confined me to a box. We must evolve beyond that. Our skin is merely an external attribute. It's just skin. End of rant."

Elba's most recent project, the Apple TV+ thriller series "Hijack," where he takes the lead, premiered on June 28.