It’s a good thing the James Bond novels and movies are separate animals. Because if author Anthony Horowitz had his say, Idris Elba would never be considered the newest 007 and the super spy would never show his emotions.
To be fair, Horowitz’s criticism of Elba as a rumored choice to follow in Daniel Craig’s footsteps (eventually) appears to have nothing to do with race. Though the comment that the actor is “too street” can easily be twisted as racist.
The author gave an interview with The Daily Mail, during which he noted that Idris is a “terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better.”
“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.”
But in Elba‘s defense, the man can tackle pretty much any role thrown at him, The Washington Post argued. He’s played Nelson Mandela, a detective on BBC series Luther, Achilles in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida on Broadway.
More to the point, Daniel Craig’s then-controversial choice to assume the legendary role has somewhat paved the way for a James Bond who is a bit more rough around the edges, giving new life to a familiar character.
And there has been plenty of talk about Idris taking the reins. The rumors began when ex-Sony boss Amy Pascal named Elba has a potential future 007 in private emails released during a computer hack.
Before Horowitz’s comments, plenty of others have made similar objections to Idris’ choice, although he remains a favorite. Some have argued that the spy must be a white Scotsman, and since original author Ian Fleming never portrayed him as a black man, to cast a black actor like Elba in the role would betray his vision.
Horowitz has offered up an alternative actor, instead of Idris — black British thespian Adrian Lester. He apparently has just the right level of suave for the role.
The author didn’t conclude his criticisms there. He went further, slamming the last installment of the film franchise — Skyfall— which performed the best of all three films in the series with Daniel Craig. Anthony declared it was his least favorite, simply because 007 expressed his feelings far too much, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Bond is weak in it. He has doubts. That’s not Bond … I don’t want to know about his doubts, his insecurities or weaknesses. I just want to see him act, kill, win.”
His other objection had more to do with the plot and ending, in which the beloved M is killed by the villain. In his opinion, the villain wins, making the whole movie pointless. And the manner in which it happens — when 007 takes M to his house in Scotland — also irked the author.
“If you have to protect the head of MI6 from a madman, do you take her to a Scottish farmhouse with no weapons? And tell your bad guy where you are, so he will arrive with six people to kill her? It’s that sort of thing that made me angry.”
The latest Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, comes out Sept. 8.
[Photo Courtesy John Sciulli, Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images]