Hollywood star Idris Elba was one of the biggest contenders for portraying James Bond after Daniel Craig left the franchise. However, he shared that he refused to play the famous MI6 spy-assassin due to high racist backlash.
According to Deadline, the actor told the ‘Smartless’ podcast: “Essentially, 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.”
He said: “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.”
The actor also said that getting the offer to play the role was highly flattering.
“The truth is, I was super complimented for a long time about this. I was like, ‘This is crazy!’ Because James Bond… We’re all actors and we understand that role. It’s one of those coveted (roles),” Elba said.
He added: “Being asked to be James Bond was like, ‘Okay, you’ve sort of reached the pinnacle.’”
As per Deadline, the actor had earlier told Esquire UK this year that he was no longer describing himself as a black actor, saying “when I realised it put me in a box. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: it’s just skin. Rant over.”
Elaborating on that statement, he later tweeted: “There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not. Being an ‘actor’ is a profession, like being an ‘architect’, they are not defined by race. However, If YOU define your work by your race, that is your Perogative. Ah lie?”