66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

If watching movies has taught me anything, it’s that people love certain characters looking like people they can relate to. It’s almost the Rocky corollary to a degree. Sly Stallone was a cut up Italian who seemed like a good looking underdog who finally found his way on top. Everybody wanted to be Rocky. Nobody would probably love Rocky if Rocky was a blonde haired British guy. Like, David Bowie. David Bowie leading the Rocky franchise would be utterly terrible, right? Right. That’s how WASPs feel about James Bond. In particular, that’s how white guys have openly talked about James Bond ever since the movement to make Idris Elba the next Bond became more of a big deal.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, Anthony Horowitz, who is the eleventh person to write a piece of fiction about a fictitious womanizing British spy who is just supposed to be “suave and cool”, says that Idris Elba is far “too street” to play a character that its supposed to be “suave and cool”. He opened with saying, “It’s not a color thing” and continued with “Idris is a terrific actor, but I could think of other black actors who would do it better.”

Had he left it right there, the world probably wouldn’t be coming down on his head today. We wouldn’t be pulling receipts on his failed books, YFA novels or even his panned 2003 film, The Gathering. But nope, he continued to give us a money quote.

“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.”

Dammit. Horowitz basically just said James Bond can’t be a guy who is “street”. Idris Elba, the guy who’s biggest “street” role ended in the mid-2000s with The Wire and has played Heimdall in Thor, Nelson Madela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom and a host of other fictitious characters in various film universes, is “too gully” to play a character who often kills people with gadgets and a PP7. Had Horowitz said Diddy or even Jamie Foxx I might have said, “maybe”. Idris? Idris is arguably the smoothest black man on the planet who isn’t Barack Obama. Probably the first guy who pick for the “suave” metric of life. Oh wait, what’s that? You say there’s already a gritty James Bond available right now and there’s a metric to prove that James Bond has been street smart since Roger Moore left the role? Let’s see.

Daniel Craig
Years As James Bond: 2006 – Current
Number Of Bond Films: 4 (including Spectre)

Remember how the world lost their collective shit over James Bond being blonde? And how he wasn’t really cool but could definitely kill a lot of guys without offering a ton of cool quips? Look at the last three Bond movies and realize this, especially with Spectre looming in November. The Bond series wanted someone far more street than Pierce Brosnan and got it with Craig. A Bond who more often than not has gotten his ass whipped like he was Orphan Oliver Twist. Basically, Craig’s Bond is if he was orphaned as a kid, trained to be a spy as he was growing up and beat the shit out of a ton of people to get there. Not to mention, getting the shit beat out of him too. Nothing about Craig seemed overly suave when he got the role. Hell, it kind of still doesn’t and his time is almost up. STREET LEVEL: 7

Pierce Brosnan
Years As James Bond: 1995 – 2002
Number Of Bond Films: 4

I saw all four Bond films with Brosnan in the starring role. Every single one of them played up on what we got out of Bond in the ’60s and ’70s between Roger Moore and Sean Connery. Pick a beautiful woman of the era, unknown or outright famous, offer a serviceable plot and let Bond make a whole bunch of one-liners about sex. Brosnan as Bond yielded only one great thing, Goldeneye for N64. Other than that? A “good looking British guy” who took Remington Steele fantasies to the next level. That’s it. STREET LEVEL: 6

Timothy Dalton
Years As James Bond: 1987 – 1989
Number Of Bond Films: 2

Want to know why people criticized Timothy Dalton’s James Bond? Because they thought he was too violent. In the 1980s where films like Commando and First Blood existed! License To Kill could have doubled as a short retelling of a Cocaine Cowboys story given all the violence and how Bond’s main villain, Franz Sanches was the most powerful drug lord in South America (or Pablo Escobar without calling him Pablo Escobar). Hell, if you remember – Bond kills Sanchez by SETTING HIM ON FIRE. STREET LEVEL: 9

Bond had street cred in the ’80s, first-time Bond author Anthony Horowitz. Why you gotta bring this racial shit into it?