Idris Elba Responds to James Bond Author’s ‘Too Street’ Remark

Idris Elba Responds James Bond Author's
Rob Latour/REX

LONDON — Idris Elba, whose “Beasts of No Nation” had its world premiere in Venice this week, has responded to James Bond author Anthony Horowitz’s comment that Elba was “too street” to play 007.

Horowitz, who has added to the novel franchise created by Ian Fleming with a new 007 adventure called “Trigger Mortis,” told the Daily Mail recently: “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”

Horowitz subsequently apologized for his remarks about Elba, who is best known for his roles in “The Wire” and “Luther.” “I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offense. That wasn’t my intention,” Horowitz said on Twitter. “I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice but I’m a writer not a casting director so what do I know?”

Horowitz concluded: “Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offense.”

In what some have interpreted as a sarcastic riposte to Horowitz’s original comment, Elba posted a remark on his Instagram page, next to a screen grab of the Daily Mail article: “Always keep smiling!! It takes no energy and never hurts! Learned that from the Street!! #septemberstillloveyou.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 49

Leave a Reply

49 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Jilly says:

    Idris Elba is an actor for God’s sake! If the role calls for posh, he can do posh. The man is gorgeous, and he can act. I would love for him to be the next Bond. I find these anemic white guy leading men very boring. Elba would bring a whole new level of hotness to Bond. I will never watch another Bond movie if Elba is not the next Bond. I will die of disappointment.

  2. ak says:

    You know, I find it interesting that he used the word ‘suave’, because that’s precisely the word I use to say why Elba SHOULD play Bond. James Bond does have to be suave, & I think Elba is very suave, & when I read about other actors that were speculated to be Bond, I said they’re hot, but Elba had that suave thing going on. I think he’d be a great choice.

  3. urallfknreto says:

    Idris Elba is a great choice for bond! Also I think Mel Gibson should be chosen for the next reboot of Shaft!!!

  4. Dale Lanieu says:

    Personally I would like to see Idris Elba as James Bond, I don’t understand the reasoning behind it. I bet he looks great in a suit, he handsome, he has charisma, he should test for the role. I feel he could do an incredible job in the role, he’s athletic, he has the English accent already. I am a 63 year old lady, come on people keep up with the Times!!

  5. Judie says:

    Suppose God made a difference between the people in the world. It really would be a mess. God loves everybody equally no matter what race we are. He is the reason we have things that we have. Some don’t recognize it, but it is true. Who made us? We are all humans.

  6. Judie Roberts says:

    I just can’t understand why people have to be so rude when it comes down to black people. Maybe Idris is british, but in our eye sight he’s black. People have talked about black people bad, but I tell you one thing; a lot of other races are trying to be like us. Take a look around.

  7. Judie E. Roberts says:

    I don’t know why one would think Idris couldn’t be Bond. There is no color when it comes down to (RAP MUSIC). What’s the problem?

    Judie E. Roberts

  8. Eric says:

    Idris Elba is the next James Bond. This is a question of color because this guy would take the character to a new level. I would wholeheartedly support his selection as the next 007. The guys is a solid actor and the women seem to enjoy his presence on film.

  9. junkietroll says:

    Idris Elba is a wonderful talented actor who can be a Chameleon at any time. He’s great!

  10. Joanne Duffy says:

    Idris Alba is gorgeous, talented and a good actor but in my mind definitely not James Bond. Why doesn’t Anthony Horowitz write another role just made for Mr. Alba? I’ve read all the Ian Fleming books and James Bond is not black. Now the Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington was a fun movie and Shaft from 1971 (that’s how old I am) was really good. i think the music by Isaac Hayes stands the test of time. I am a bit late on the debate but watched Luther last night and love watching idris Alba love the caring character of Luther although programme is too violent for me; my husband loves it.

  11. Adrian Lester looks like a young boy. He does not have the acting chops of Elba. It was an ignorant comment by the author. It’s also ignorant to say James Bond is white. So was “Annie” too, huh?

    • Floy Joy says:

      Fictional characters in books are described by their authors in various ways eg. what gender they are, where they were born and other details. Thus the character is created. If too much of it is later changed or disregarded by others then it becomes a different character. It is clear from Fleming’s books that Bond is white-this is derived from various details such as his birthplace, his social class and many other details. if this is to be ignored then why not have him played by a woman? This makes just as much sense if the description by the author is to be changed so much. Why should authors even bother with creating detailed characters if this can all be changed by others later?!!

      • Ryder says:

        According to Fleming, also the illegimate child of a Scottish barmaid and who never finished brit equivalent of high school. A brute who exploited women and enjoyed inflicting pain. Movie bond has little real connection to Fleming bond.

    • Jim Borrison says:

      The “Annie ” remake was a piece of shit !!!

  12. Gabriel says:

    so people are offended because a Bond writer said he preferred one black man over another because he thinks the former is more suave? Really digging deep for those “that’s racist!” moments eh?

    • Janiey says:

      Lol problem people try to find a reason to use the race card even when it makes zero sense

    • Marcus says:

      Its not digging its common sense….Idris is an actor. .and using the words he is too streets is just not tasteful and what does he know about what an actor can pull off with his acting skills

      • Dale says:

        I agree, actors do all kinds of roles..

      • jahswii says:

        O’Shea Jackson and Vin Diesel are actors as well. However, id agree they are too street to play James Bond. Doesnt inflect on how they look or the people they are outside their careers. The fact he pointed out his opinion of a better option for a colored James Bond shows his intent wasnt to say no black actor can play the role. He just didnt agree with Mr. Elba for the part.

  13. Leith says:

    Of course Elba could be James Bond. He’s an actor: he can be anything he wants. I think he’d be great in the part. And, really 21st century.

  14. Andra Popa says:

    He’s perfect for the role, I’d love to see him as the next Bond. It will bring a much needed face lift to the whole franchise, and it could steer it in a new direction.

  15. Dimples says:

    Idris is a very HANDSOME, Sexy, Suave Black man. You just can’t handle the TRUTH!
    Black is BEAUTIFUL and we are PROUD to be Black Americans. All the roles he play are awesome, plus he has that sexy British accent!!! Break the mold Idris, you can be whoever you want to. Old white men are so scared of Black Pride heritage. The Academy & The Emmys are still prejudice. The hottest tv show is (Empire) and the show was not even nominated. I don’t care to watch the awards show, because they do not like giving (The BLack Actors/Actress they props! If we can have a black successful PRESIDENT, then we can have a black Bond 007. You can portray any role you want to. Its call (ACTING)!!!!!! Forget the old sterotypes!
    We’re not in the 1920’s. Since you think he’s street Idris want you try out for a black superman!!!
    Watch them go beserk if you win the role. Idris keep going for strong roles. The slaves and pimp acting is behind us, we dont have to shuffle NO MORE!!!!! Continue to be a POSITIVE ROLE MODEL!!! I love ya work. There are so many prejudice people out there and they feel the same way! Don’t aplogize you know you do not want to apologize, the world is moving up.
    Right On Right On!!!!!!! Cant we all GET ALONG!!!!! Dimples

    • Janiey says:

      You realise you guys all made it about race but that’s not what the author meant at all…he said he’s preference was Adrian Lester cause in his opinion he fits the role better…Adrian happens to be black too..he’s preference had nothing to do with color.

    • Goku says:

      First, Idris Elba isn’t American, he is actually British. Second, Empire is the hottest show because of controversy, guest stars every episode and new music. I love empire but it doesn’t get awards because it is simply not as great as a show like Game of Thrones. It’s repetitive, unrealistic and sometimes the acting bad. You can get high ratings but it won’t mean critics will love it. Shawshank Redemption had a weak box office but it is still regarded as the best movie of all time. Avatar grossed the most but it didn’t win all the awards.
      I’m black so I don’t hate my race. It’s just that James Bond is Scottish and I have never heard or met a black Scottish man. He could probably pull the roll off but the change is too much for people. It’s like having a remake of Shaft and Joseph Gordon Levitt is casted as him. It’s too uncomfortable and different. I don’t disagree black is beautiful but some things aren’t suppose to change

  16. I’m sorry, Adrian Lester (I don’t know him) may be more “suave” or less “street” but Idris Elba has the charm and sexiness to play the part; I can’t see the other guy doing it.

  17. therealmusashi says:

    If you want a black secret agent, make a(nother) series about a black secret agent. This idiotic game where we suggest traditionally white characters must now be black, in order to appease some leftist fantasy of dismantling everything is pure lunacy. Should George Clooney play Malcolm X? How about Robert DeNiro as Nelson Mandela? Is anyone calling for that?

    Elba is an excellent actor, but he isn’t right for James Bond. Quit insisting that we screw up the most successful franchise in film history for some perverted sense of “fairness.”

    Bond is white, live with it and move on.

    • Amber says:

      Malcom X and Nelson Mandela are real people. James Bond is a ficticous charater. So yes it would be stupid if white men played real life black men.

    • Floy Joy says:

      I absolutely agree. What is the point of having a black actor play James Bond? Just to show that it can be done? Then he could be played by a woman! This has been done with Dr Watson in TV series “Elementary”, with Starbuck in the remade “Battlestar Galactica”. But the reality is that it is a gimmick, to generate publicity, get people talking and thus to get more viewers.There is no genuine sentiment behind it, such as the idea that it breaks down barriers. People project this onto it and thus the film producers/studio look like they are great people. The hard truth is that all they really care about is how they can generate extra money for their product. I am hoping that the Bond producers are above this and will pick the next Bond actor purely on the basis that they are the best actor for the role.

    • Let's be real here says:

      People are hung up on the fact that you gave non-fictional examples, so how about Shaft, or Lando Calrissian, or B.A. Baracus? Would these fictional characters ever be cast with white actors? Of course not, so your point stands.

    • M says:

      We are talking fiction here.

    • Jahneeta says:

      James Bond is a fictional character and color has no bearing on what actor should portray the role. Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X are real life individuals so someone that doesn’t resemble their essence cant portray their roles with conviction. I really am amazed at the hidden racist comments that some individuals place on social media. Do you post after much thought on purpose or should I give you the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge you just didn’t think about the context of your sharing before you hit post?

    • Jaime says:

      You make a fair point, but if you have not noticed James Bond is a ‘fictional’ character. Comparing fairytales to real life does not do you justice mate, Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X are in fact ‘non-fictional’ and if certain men had to be playing them in a film, they would have to be of darker skin, no questions asked. But because Bond only exists in books, films and etc. there is a leniency towards the characteristics of the man playing him, such as his skin colour. We have a mentality in our heads that says because Bond has been white for 60+ years he cannot be black, which sets the situation into a movement of tradition. Some people like yourself may argue that Bond was originally written to be white with a certain features like eye colour and hair colour, but many of the previous Bonds have enjoyed the leniency of mixed features for example Daniel Craig has blonde hair and blue eyes while Sean Connery has brown hair and brown eyes, others have black hair and brown eyes. So in all “fairness” there is no reason for Bond to be white or black.

  18. karaj says:

    Idris elba not suave?!?!?! The man epitomizes suave. I think he’s too closely tying idris with his luther role or one of his other “rougher” roles. Hes a truely great actor that i could absolutely see being an amazong bond. If idris was bond, I’d actually go see that movie.

  19. KAREN BROWN says:

    IF YOU PLACE ANYONE IN THIS ROLE BESIDES I DRESS ELBA WE WONT BE PAYING TO SEE # BOOTLEG!!!!

  20. Juanita Jordan says:

    Idris Elba is and continues to be Blessed no matter the comment(s)…by the way his response was quite professional.

  21. Jaquice says:

    I agree with a a lot of the comments here but Anthony, in his own words, says “Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther”. Anthony being a screenwriter should know that Idris and J. Luther are two different people. Idris was portraying a part(acting), so to base his assumption on that does not make sense to me unless Idris portrayed all of his characters like Luther. It’s like saying Brad Pitt can’t play the hero because he played a vampire.

  22. Adela Tran says:

    Leftists nowadays thrive off of demanding public apologies like these ones… They have a talent in causing problems for themselves to make their own lives seem “more difficult”. Disgusting. You know what’s a first world problem? Being offended. People in other counties are concerned about starving to death or getting bombed and all these stupid western idiots only care about “omg im lik sooooo offended11!” Go fuck yourself, I’ll be cheering for the day when America and the anglosphere become bombed out nuclear wasteland.

  23. John Freimann says:

    It seems that the minute someone opens their mouth they have to apologize. Why? This is getting to be very silly. “Too street”, what’s wrong with that? It might be a right objection, it might be a wrong objection; let the guy explain what and why it means something to him. Plus, if someone objects, make sure they, also, explain why they object; instead of just accepting that they are right and the poor “too street” guy is automatically wrong.

  24. Julie says:

    NO NO … Idris just doesn’t fit James Bond image. It’s not because he’s black it because he just doesn’t have that “Look” of James Bond. He is a great actor though.

    • dashfresh says:

      That sounds like a handicapped statement. What image? That dude is very accomplished and very smooth when need be. What the hell does Andy Horowitz know about being Street? James Bond is smooth and street rolled into one to anyone that has watched the series. Andy Horowitz sounds like he’s picking between 2 slaves, “give me that one, he’s more house broken, or put Idris in the field” GTFOH. Daniel Craig with his jagged termite face and unlikeability has NEVER fit the image. Let’s get rid of old stereotypes and move this character well into the 21st century. The old farts will either adapt, or die off reminiscing.

  25. Truth is stranger than fiction says:

    What does Adrian Lester have to do with anything, other than Horowitz is, for who knows what reason, attempting to choose between black actors, comparing an ‘elegant’ black man to a ‘street’ black man (in his cockeyed view). No matter what he says his racism reveals itself. (Nothing against Lester, great actor.)

  26. i think he would make a fantastic Bond.

  27. therealeverton says:

    Good response. We all know he didn’t mean to cause offence, but he really should have put more thought into that response.

    • Adela Tran says:

      Typical white apologist, why don’t you stop being such a pussy and actually worry about REAL things like poverty instead of enforcing fascist political correctness? This is the problem with the first world nowadays, offended offended offended… Try to go to SE Asia where Americans sprayed the entire northern Vietnam with toxins that completely destroyed the livelihood of people there and see how privileged you are. You see people complain about trivia like this? Leftard whites always apologize about things that don’t need apologies. Why don’t you apologize for shit that matters,Mille war crimes you don’t even acknowledge in your history???

      • What are you rambling about? He acknowledged that the guy meant no real harm, but correctly pointed out that the statement needed a bit more qualification to avoid people assigning a meaning that wasn’t there. I do that all the time. If I say something I know might be taken a number of ways, I clarify myself within the original statement to avoid any confusion about my meaning.

        Also, how do you know he isn’t worried about problems in the world. It took 2 minutes out of a 24 hour day to write a sentence about this. And if your crusade is to end political correctness, try figuring out a smarter, and less hostile way of arguing for it instead of sounding like a partisan politico wingnut jumping at the first opportunity for part 2 of the culture war. Or stop writing here, and go help the SE Asians.

  28. David says:

    Perhaps Mr. Horowitz should read Ian Fleming’s Bond novels. James Bond was rough and rugged. I also recall that Mr. Fleming was opposed to Sean Connery playing Bond because Connery is Scottish.

    • Jaquice says:

      Hi David. I agree with and recall hearing or reading that also. To me, in my opinion, Sean Connery was/is the best person to portray 007.

More Film News from Variety

Loading