Movies & TV

Idris Elba Just Explained Why Playing James Bond Is a Bad Idea

He's over it.
IMAGE Simon Emmett
  • Rumors have swirled for years that Elba will be the next Bond.
  • The actor gave an interview in which he addressed the rumors head on.
  • "You’re THAT character, and known as that character for many, many years," he said.

The last James Bond film starring Daniel Craig as the titular character is still more than a year away, but speculation about who will be the next Bond is strong as ever. The current favorite, according to reports, is Richard Madden, who played Robb Stark in Game of Thrones and, recently, the main character in the U.K. TV series, The Bodyguard. Still, the name that keeps getting tossed into the mix—partly because he keeps teasing the idea on social media—is Idris Elba. In a new interview with Event, an entertainment insert from the Daily Mail, Elba was surprisingly candid about why he wouldn't want to play Bond.

"Bond is one of the biggest franchises in the world, and for that reason, whoever ends up playing it, lives it," he told the journalist Craig McLean. "You’re THAT character, and known as that character for many, many years. I’m creating characters now that can still live alongside Idris. Not ones that take over me and solely define me."

McLean referred to the statement as a "categorical denial," or something close to it, from Elba about the prospect of playing Bond.

The rumors about Elba becoming the next Bond started in 2014, when emails from within Sony leaked and among them was a note from the company's co-chairman, Amy Pascal, who said, "Idris should be the next Bond." Since then, Steven Spielberg has said Elba should be the first choice to replace Craig. (Elba chose not to address the rumors in a 2017 Esquire profile.) A producer on the Bond franchise reportedly said it's time for a non-white actor to take over the role. Last year, Elba tweeted, "My name's Elba, Idris Elba," and at this year's Golden Globes he took a selfie with Craig that got people talking.


Of course, Elba also had a very blunt response to a question from Good Morning, Britain last summer when asked whether he would be playing Bond: "No."


This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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