The speculation over Idris Elba joining the long-running James Bond movie franchise is spreading again. Rumors of the popular actor playing the sexy spy were ignited by a recent report that said director Antoine Fuqua and Bond producer Barbara Broccoli want to bring more diversity to the films — especially after some viewers bashed previous ones for what they said were racist and sexist scenes.
Many fans have dreamed of Elba succeeding current 007 Daniel Craig, envisioning the “Luther” actor as the first Black bond. The dream may turn into a reality, according to UK Daily Star.
However, the Elba rumors can’t help but shed light on some of the franchise’s previous controversies.
Past films with Roger Moore and Sean Connery playing the British agent were accused of featuring racist and sexist scenes, the Toronto Sun reported earlier this year. Connery, a Scottish actor who portrayed Bond in seven films between 1967 and 1983, had an “aggressive” seduction technique with the Bond girls, social media users said. A character also called people in Bangkok “little brown pointy heads” during the 1974 film “The Man with the Golden Gun” starring Moore.
The eighth Bond film, 1973’s “Live and Let Die,” featured several Black characters, including actress Gloria Hendry who was the franchise’s first African-American Bond girl to play a romantic interest. Though the film had myriad Black performers, critics have said it became a derogatory take on Blaxploitation and cast Black people as thugs and “evil” criminals. Hendry’s character, who is the romantic interest of Bond (played by Moore), is discovered to have been working for Kananga, a Black villain who is running a heroin operation that Bond tries to stop. The portrayals of Blackness are demeaning, critics have said.
Pierce Brosnan, who was Bond in four films from 1995 to 2002 (including “Die Another Day” with Halle Berry), also shined a racially charged light on the franchise. Brosnan reportedly said that the next Bond would continue to be “male and white” after Craig’s tenure, UK’s The Express reported.
In light of those issues, Elba is now the frontrunner for the lead role. The addition of Elba would certainly be welcomed — as well as likely spark even more African-American interest in the franchise.