Previous Joints

Friday, 1 March 2013

No to Black Bond... Unless It's Idris

I wanted to find an excuse to write about the best television series of all time, The Wire, but I couldn’t find one. This is the next best thing.

Whatever the case, if you haven’t seen The Wire, I envy you because you have the opportunity to freshly experience one of the greatest things put on the small screen.

But this blog isn’t about television.

Firstly, I don’t think there should ever be a black James Bond. I personally find the whole concept offensive. Ian Fleming had a clear vision of who Bond was and although the modern day interpretation bares almost no resemblance to that vision, a black Bond would be pissing on the man's grave.

But with that said, the idea of the black Bond refuses to go away and recent conversations have had a champion to promote the cause – Idris Elba.


Do you remember that ‘what the hell’ moment, the very first time you heard David Beckham’s speaking voice? The likelihood is that you’ll have that same experience if you’ve only ever heard Elba speak in The Wire.


Idris Elba is the most talented black British actor that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. In fact, scrap the black, I truly think he’s one of the best young(ish) British actors around.

And, yes, a lot of my opinion is based on his performance as Russell “Stringer” Bell in The Wire. The man was so good and so convincing in that show (to be perfectly honest, everyone is great in The Wire) that I thought he was a Baltimore native. But no, he’s a Londoner (and an Arsenal fan).

He has presence, charisma and is more than capable of convincing people that he’s a charming, intelligent and ruthless killer – with a hint of that modern day Bond element, vulnerability. He showed all of this in The Wire.

And to be fair to Idris, he showed this in his other standout performance as the psycho policeman protagonist in Luther. As John Luther, Idris shows that he can do the on-the-edge, solve-the-case-by-any-means stuff with aplomb. In fact, unlike The Wire, it’s he alone that keeps Luther from descending into a silly cartoon of a murder mystery show. He carries the whole series on his back.

Elba is a star and has the potential to rival some of the biggest leading men out there - but I do have one fear. Idris has a uncanny talent of picking unchallenging roles in terrible films. To be fair to him, there is a dearth of black leading male roles around in Hollywood that he'd be insane to turn down work where he is the main man. In any case, roles such as the one he plays in the film Obsessed, co-staring Beyonce, are so beneath him that it hurts. He deserves better. And the less I can say about Takers the better. 

Despite the above, I still think Bond should stay white. It's bad enough for some that he’s blonde. I mean, what’s next, a white Shaft?

But if very soon in the future there was a decision made to make James Bond a brother, Idris should be right at the top of the producers list.