In today’s sensitive political landscape, Daniel Craig’s James Bond has thrived as a beta male. While Craig hopes to leave the role less “misogynistic,” Idris Elba, a fan favorite to succeed as the first black 007, is “too street” to play the character, according to franchise author Anthony Horowitz.
Horowitz wrote the latest Bond novel Trigger Mortis, and told the Daily Mail over the weekend that despite the hopes of fans, Elba, 42, will not succeed Craig as bond when the actor retires.
“Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better,” said Horowitz.
“For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part,” he added. “It’s not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”
While Horowitz might see Elba as “too rough” for Bond, Trigger Mortis is set immediately following 1957’s Goldfinger, and does not attempt to change the alpha male character, but simply “chide” him with the balance of a sharp female counterpart.
The author acknowledged The Mail’s assessment of Ian Fleming’s Bond as a “racist, homophobic, male chauvinist pig.”
“Bond is not the most sympathetic of characters when you actually think about him. He is a man who kills people. He has unfortunate attitudes towards women, gays, Jews and foreigners,” Horowitz said.
To sidestep the supposed bigotry of the original Bond, Horowitz made vixen Jeopardy Lane “stronger” and “better” than him.
“The policy was not to fight any of it, not to try and change him and not to make excuses for him but to find a way to chide him,” the author said. “So one of the women in the book abandons him, and worse still – spoiler alert – walks out with another woman.”
While Horowitz is scheming up ways to make Bond’s old school persona work with 21st Century gender politics, the current Bond actor simply hopes to leave 007 more socially appropriate for future fans.
A decade after taking on the role, Daniel Craig tells Esquire UK, “Hopefully, my Bond is not as sexist and misogynistic” as earlier adaptations.
“The world has changed. I am certainly not that person. But he is, and so what does that mean? It means you cast great actresses and make the parts as good as you can for the women in the movies,” said Craig.
On Bond’s serial philandering, Craig says, “He’s [Bond] very f—ing lonely… There’s a great sadness. He’s f***ing these beautiful women, but then they leave, and it’s … sad.”
The actor added, “And as a man gets older, it’s not a good look. It might be a nice fantasy — that’s debatable.”
Spectre will make its box office debut November 6.
UPDATE: After a swift media backlash following author Anthony Horowitz’s comments describing black actor Idris Elba as “too street” to portray James Bond, the writer issued an apology on Twitter Tuesday:
“I’m really sorry my comments on Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn’t my intention,” Horowitz wrote. “I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice but I’m a writer not a casting director so what do I know?”
The author concluded, “Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I do admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offence.”