British actor Idris Elba has suggested that the next person to play James Bond “could be a black woman” amid fan-driven speculation that he should be considered for the famed role.
Speaking with Variety at the Sundance Film Festival ahead of his directorial debut for his feature film Yardie, Elba cast doubt on the possibility that he could one day play the role of 007 in the popular spy franchise.
“Are we interested in having a Bond character other than being a male? It could be a woman—could be a black woman, could be a white woman,” Elba said. “Do something different with it. Why not?”
Elba, who has held major roles in popular TV series, including Luther and The Wire, has long been touted as a potential successor to Daniel Craig, who confirmed last August that he would reprise his role as bond for the franchise’s 25th installment in 2019.
However, writer Anthony Horowitz, who wrote the most recent Bond novel Trigger Mortis, has previously suggested that Elba wouldn’t be a good fit for the role because he is “too street,” a claim that the media quickly labeled as racist.
“Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better,” Horowitz said in 2015.
“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.”