Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Idris Elba is Never Going to be James Bond. Get Over It.

I like Idris Elba. He’s a great, charming actor who really throws himself into his roles. He’s critically acclaimed and has range. He is fairly well known, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call him an A-List actor. He might get there one day, but I don’t think he’s quite there yet. He also seems like a genuinely nice guy.

I have never been disappointed in any of his performances, and I am really looking forward to seeing him as the antagonist in next year’s Star Trek Beyond. So, it might come as a surprise when I say that I am constantly irritated when I see the echo chamber of the internet rallying around the idea that he should succeed Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.

It isn’t going to happen, and people need to get over that.

Idris Elba from a GQ photo shoot.

Idris Elba from a GQ photo shoot.

Would Elba make a good James Bond? Of course he would. He’s attractive, charming, has that suave look that is equally deadly.  He can do edgy with a humorous twinkle.  He’s also from London – a bonus.  Am I saying this because he’s black?  Nope. It’s 2015.  That shouldn’t matter, especially for an English spy.  I have no doubts that one day we’ll have a black James Bond (maybe it’ll even be the next one).

The reason why he’ll never be Bond is that, at 43, Elba has aged out of the role.

What? How could I say that? Many other Bonds have been in their 40s? Surely that can’t count Elba out. Well, I’m afraid it does, and I have the math to prove it.

Spectre is Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as 007. According to his contract, he has at least one more film to go. Based in the production schedule of the previous Craig Bonds, Bond 25 won’t likely hit theaters until 2017 (at the absolute earliest) or, more likely, 2018. If that is his final film, Bond 26 (with a new actor) likely won’t hit theaters until 2020. Possibly not until 2021 as the production staff will need time to search for the new James Bond.

What I am getting at is that we won’t see any new Bond actor for at least 5 or 6 years. By then, Elba will be 48/49. No Bond actor has been that old when cast. EON Productions will likely want a multi-picture deal with the new actor that would likely last about a decade – meaning that Elba would be pushing 60 by the time he would retire from the role. One of the criticisms of Roger Moore’s Bond (who was 46 when cast) was that he became more unbelievable in the role as he aged. There is no way the Bond producers will go down the route again.

In the unlikely event that Spectre turns out to be Craig’s final time as Bond (as some media outlets are rumoring), by the time the next film rolls around, Elba would be past his mid-40s. Still too old to make it work or for the producers to take that risk.

Not to say that a Bond in his 50s wouldn’t work (I honestly believe that Pierce Brosnan had one more film in him); I just don’t see EON going down that route. It potentially strays too far from what they know works.

For Idris Elba to be Bond, he should be Bond now starring in Spectre. As much as it would be cool to see him as 007, it didn’t work out like that.

And while we are at it, Clive Owen, Hugh Jackman, Henry Cavill, and Michael Fassbender will never be Bond either (but for all different reasons).

Idris Elba may not be Bond, but I don’t see why he couldn’t still be in a Bond movie. Perhaps as a villain or ally (he’d make a terrific M). Unfortunately, the timing just wasn’t right for him to take on the role of the world’s most famous secret agent. It is a shame, but the reality of the situation.

Now watch.  In a few years from now, this actually happens.

~N

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