For the last few years, there have been rumours circulating that Idris Elba would be the next James Bond. That, of course, all changed when Daniel Craig signed on for the 25th 007 movie, which he is currently filming. But the post-DC Bond era? Fans truly believe it should be Elba. And while it seems like it would be a sure thing, turns out, he was never seriously considered.
Elba covers the August issue of Vanity Fair and revealed he doesn’t love talking about the 007 casting. “James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character, that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey,” he said. “Of course, if someone said to me, ‘Do you want to play James Bond?,’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah!’ That’s fascinating to me. But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, ‘Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond.'”
And it might be the idea of his version not being as successful or embraced or as accepted as The Hollywood Reporter‘s 2018 poll (which found 63 per cent of Americans wanted him for the role) that scares the actor off. “You just get disheartened when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be,'” he explains. “And it really turns out to be the color of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the color of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.”
Elba had other insecurities to work out, like his hosting gig on Saturday Night Live this past March. While he’s no stranger to humour (The Office, Turn Up Charlie), not to mention his vivacious real-life personality, he admitted that the “honest, hard work” of rehearsing for the skit show gave him an opportunity to open himself up. “I found that, you know, the more I just plugged in, and jumped headfirst in, and just exposed myself and my insecurities to anything, the better it was for me as an experience.”
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For the modern Hollywood star, look no further than @IdrisElba. He’s had a busy movie year (a directorial debut, a Fast & Furious spinoff, a highly-anticipated Cats adaptation, not to mention a successful DJ career with sets at Coachella and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.) Read V.F.’s full August cover story at the #linkinbio. Photograph by @collierschorrstudio. Styled by @LudivinePoiblanc. Story by K. Austin Collins. Jacket, T-Shirt & Pants: @louisvuitton Ring: @givenchyofficial Sunglasses: @jacquesmariemage
He also wishes his life was more private. In an ideal world he’d love to live as an “incredible actor” while remaining fairly anonymous to the general public, citing Daniel Day Lewis an example. “I can’t do that. I wish I could. I wish I could just be obscure, and no one ever have to see me, and never have to do interviews, and still have the career that he has.”
The Golden Globe winner adds that the pressure from film studios “to be more public is higher,” which might be why we saw photos from his three-day Morocco wedding to Sabrina Dhowre published in British Vogue.
“Everything’s a balance in life,” said Elba. “I have to do the work, because it’s a popular time for me, and it’s best to have that. But also: I’m madly in love with my wife and my children [daughter Isan from his first marriage, and five-year-old Winston from a previous relationship].” It’s when he gets home that he gets to be himself. Which is where he loves to be. But if that would mean we wouldn’t get to see him as much? No, thank you.
Next up for Idris, aside from Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw later this summer? Cats. That’s right. Alongside Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench and Taylor Swift. Seems a tad odd of a project but he’ll be playing the “bad guy,” Macavity, which kind of makes perfect sense. Despite his DJ career (from Harry and Meghan‘s wedding to Coachella), Elba admits he’s not a singer but is musical. “I’ve never done it before, so I thought, why not?” But director Tom Hooper said Elba was simply playing it cool.
“It turned out he had always had a dream of being in a musical, which I didn’t know,” said Hooper. “So Idris got his dream. And he got his dream with Taylor Swift.” Not exactly hiding in the shadows but we bet no one’s complaining.