James Bond

007 Author Says Idris Elba is “Too Street” to Play James Bond [Updated]

Making the daily rounds of “older white men making dumb comments” is current 007 novelist Anthony Horowitz, who in a recent interview with the Daily Mail’s Event Magazine explained why he thinks British actor Idris Elba shouldn’t be the first black actor to play James Bond.

“Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better,” says Horowitz. “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”

Setting aside the fact that Elba just this month was the first man to be featured on the cover of Maxim (where he looks about as ‘suave’ as humanly possible), Horowitz’s comments simply sound asinine and while they’re not exactly racist, they could easily be interpreted as such.  While one of Elba’s most well-known performances was as the “too rough”, “too street” criminal Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell on The Wire, he is a versatile actor who even former Sony head Amy Pascal thought would be a good match for the role of Bond, as revealed in the infamous Sony email hacks last year.

To his credit, Horowitz did bring up another black British actor, Adrian Lester, as his personal pick for the role. Still, he probably could have chosen a better way to dismiss Elba than likening him to an uncultured black stereotype.

(Via: The Washington Post)

UPDATE: Anthony Horowitz has issued a public apology on his Twitter account, stating “I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence…it was a poor choice of words.”


Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)