Earlier this week, Idris Elba said he was “too old” for Bond when he dropped in on Good Morning America to promote Star Trek: Beyond when he was asked about the rumors that he might be the next James Bond, since Daniel Craig bailed earlier this year.
Much has been made of his “too old” for Bond comment, to the point where it could be the next best phrase for a t-shirt cash grab, but there’s certainly do doubt that Idris would do it if they handed him the role. Perhaps what he meant in the interview was that he would be too old for it for it to make sense to pick him for the role, playing a character he believes is a young man’s game with the martinis, women, and the cars.
In 2014, the actor did a interview with the Telegraph, where he talked about switching roles too quickly, in this case he referred to making a switch between the Mandela biopic and being in costume in a Thor movie that annoyed him.
However, even though the approach studio heads had for casting people in the old days of the James Bond franchise, where they were noticeably older and out of shape, the differences between then and what the role demands from its actors today is that Idris would have to step-up his training to be believable as the secret agent.
Maybe him saying that he’s too old for Bond could mean that he’s not into meeting those physical demands and yet, there’s a good chance it could be the best move or the worst move a studio would make in order to continue the series.
But maybe there’s a chance that even James Bond is too old for any of today’s Bond movies in general?
At first, Daniel Craig was seen as a gamble on bringing back the franchise, which in hindsight was even less of a gamble as they stuck to the familiarity of a rarely seen Casino Royale story, rather than write a complete original — holding onto an already vetted and complete Ian Fleming tale to lessen the risk. But after its success, Daniel Craig was a sure thing and the “marriage” of Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes during MGM’s financial struggles certainly made the studio figure they could rely on a collaboration that had been proven successful, both because they now had confidence in it on top of the fact that in order to save the studio, they relied on recycling their back catalog of films and characters.
So for MGM, they would see that their effort to invest more into the old series was certainly worth it at this point and won’t abandon the series no matter how old the character is. When it comes to box office success, Ian Fleming’s James Bond is never too old to capitalize on.
In actuality since the second movie the studio was looking to write the character into more uncharted territory. But the James Bond signature martinis and cars is certainly required for the character to match the copyright. Even a black actor playing agent 007 would have to keep those traits in order to make it believable enough for the audience to get onboard.
Given today’s engagement with social media, black actors clearly remain targets by media trolls, as we’ve seen with Leslie Jones after she was attacked on Twitter earlier this week for being in the new Ghostbusters movie. That’s something Ernie Hudson was able to avoid when he was in the first two movies, but it’s a wonder if Idris Elba is going to be able to dodge that kind of abuse.
In any case, it’s MGM who would clearly make the final decision on their investment. A serious and breakthrough move would certainly be to cast Elba in the role, which would confirm that the studio has complete confidence in their franchise, their writers, and where they want to take it in the future. So, it isn’t that Idris Elba might be too old for Bond, but whether James Bond is ready to make history.
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