Idris Elba has explained why he eventually lost interest in playing James Bond.
Even before No Time to Die was confirmed to be the last performance of Daniel Craig in the role, Elba was believed to be one of the front runners to replace the Casino Royale star.
When Craig retired from the role, those rumours intensified and Elba was constantly questioned about his link to 007.
As time went on, Elba soured on the idea of playing Bond after the issue of race continually popped up. If successful in gaining the role, he would be the first black man to play the character.
"I was like, 'This is crazy!' Because James Bond… We're all actors and we understand that role. It's one of those coveted ," Elba said on the Smartless podcast.
"Being asked to be James Bond was like, 'Okay, you've sort of reached the pinnacle.'
"That's one of those things the whole world has a vote in.
"Essentially, it was a huge compliment that every corner of the world except for some corners, which we will not talk about, were really happy about the idea that I could be considered. Those that weren't happy about the idea made the whole thing disgusting and off-putting, because it became about race. It became about nonsense, and I got the brunt of it."
Elba is currently promoting the thriller television series Hijack, about a business merger negotiator who finds himself up against terrorists on a hijacked plane.
Who is the favourite to play Bond?
Numerous names have been linked with the Bond role over the past couple of years including Elba, Henry Cavill, Tom Hardy, Kit Harrington, Rege Jean-Page, Sam Heughan, Paul Mescal and Richard Madden.
According to new reports, there is one actor who is currently the favourite - Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
“Aaron went for a screen test to be the next Bond in September and producers and Barbara loved him," a source told The Sun.
"He is now one of the front-runners… Aaron has impressed bosses so much that he has filmed one of the franchise’s famous gun barrel teaser scenes, something all the Bond actors do. That move takes him a step closer to signing a deal. Bosses at the brand were really impressed with his unique blend of acting intensity and his impressive back catalogue of action films.”
Franchise producer Barbara Broccoli has previously confirmed that we will not see a younger version of Bond, which means an actor mid-30s and older will likely be cast.
Taylor-Johnson, known for hits like Kick-Ass, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Nowhere Boy and Bullet Train, will turn 33 this summer and could be 34 when filming finally begins.
No Time to Die
Action / Thriller
2021 • 163 minutes