With reports of Sony executive Amy Pascal stating in a leaked e-mail that she wants Idris Elba as the next 007, the question that needs to be answered is; is society ready for a black James Bond?
Ever since its inception—and through out culture’s history—James Bond has always been seen and perceived as a white British agent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, that has given moviegoers the likes of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and most recently Daniel Craig.
While Craig has been anything less than spectacular in his turn as a more rugged 007, learning his way in the world of espionage, as Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall have accurately showed his ability to give Bond a rawer, more tougher and steely Bond, due to our changing demographics and racial paradigm shift, perhaps it may be time for a black James Bond.
And what better choice than Elba.
Thanks to roles in Luther, The Wire, American Gangster, Obsessed, Promethus and most recently Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Elba is able to add his own unique sense of drama to Hollywood’s lethal secret agent.
in addition to drama, Elba is also no stranger to Hollywood popcorn action films, as Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Pacific Rim and the up-coming Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron, make him a quality choice if Sony decides to go in a new direction without Craig.
Either way, Sony and EON Productions score a win-win if they decide to either retain the blond and buff Craig, or go with the dark and sultry Elba, as racially re-casting a major character is a precedent that is not new, as the late Michael Clark Duncan played the white crime boss, Kingpin in Marvel’s Daredevil.
While it has taken certain aspects of American culture time to accept having a black president such as Barack Obama, even in the 21st century, some still have a hard time truly accepting it. While a black James Bond may not have been what Sir Ian Fleming envisioned in 1953 by creating the fictitious superspy, Elba would bring an entirely new demographic to the Bond franchise, and if that takes re-casting Bond, then so be it.
For decades, 007’s favorite foil, Moneypenny was played by Lois Maxwell, Barbara Bouchet, Pamela Salem, Caroline Bliss and most recently Samantha Bond before being re-cast by Naomie Harris in 2012. Even longtime friend and CIA ally, Felix Leiter was recast by Jeffrey Wright, after being played by Jack Lord, Cec Linder, Rik Van Nutter, Norman Burton, David Hedison, Bernie Casey and John Terry.
Based on this, in adding to our current society becoming more racially integrated and mixed, the idea of Elba as a black James Bond isn’t so shocking after all, the question is, are we ready to embrace it?