Bond, James Bond.
Who is he?
He’s a fictional British Secret Service agent created by writer Ian Fleming in the 1950’s; a blend of a number of different people Fleming met as a Naval Intelligence officer during World War II.
What is he?
He’s white because Fleming says he based the character off of his brother and several other British military and Intelligence types.
His name is American though.
The real James Bond was a famous American ornithologist, an expert in birds of the Caribbean.
But what he’s not is black, according to Anthony Horowitz the latest and seventh writer to write an original James Bond novel.
Horowitz was responding to a groundswell that it’s time for the popular fictional character to evolve with the times and that black and British actor Idris Elba should him.
In an interview in The Daily Mail Horowitz said Elba is too “street” to play Bond.
Well, the internet exploded with the #TooStreet became the leading meme.
Most people weighed in by saying Horowitz should just admit that he wanted Bond to remain white.
There’s even a betting war going on in the UK about who will play the next James Bond when Daniel Craig is done.
While BoyleSports says actor Tom Hardy of Batman and Mad Max fame is the odds on favorite at 4/1, Elba is a close second at 3/1.
After the uproar over his comments Horowitz took to twitter to apologize writing, “I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn’t my intention. 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? 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 offence.
Elba finally responded yesterday by tweeting, “Always Keep Smiling!! It takes no energy and never hurts! Learned that from the Street!! #septemberstillloveyou.
Elba has said he’d be open to playing Bond.
At least one former Bond, Pierce Brosnan says it’s time for a bit more diversity in the role.
But, is the writer right?
Was he being racist or was he taken out of context?
After all, his original quote was this, “Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better.’
He went on to name Adrian Lester who starred in Hustle and then said, “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.’
We must keep in mind though that becoming a character is what all good actors do, no matter their gender or ethnicity.
And Idris Elba is a very accomplished actor.
Just like Meryl Streep who is not even British could morph into Margaret Thatcher, perhaps Idris Elba could do the same when it comes to Bond.
It’s called acting.