Idris Elba reacts to GoldenEye in 1995
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No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final film as 007, has smashed UK box office records grossing more on its opening weekend than any other film in the history of the James Bond franchise. It became the biggest movie of the year after only four days in cinemas. The latest Bond instalment also holds the record as the longest Bond film, clocking in at two hours and 45 minutes. It has enjoyed the widest theatrical release of any film in UK history, launching in 772 cinemas with more than 9,000 shows daily. Speculation is now turning to who will replace Mr Craig as the iconic character.
One name that has been repeatedly mentioned over the last couple of years is Idris Elba, best known for his roles in The Wire and Luther.
In August 2019, Mr Elba told Vanity Fair he would say yes to playing Bond.
He said: “James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey.
“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 want to be the black James Bond.’”
However, Mr Elba admitted he had been left “disheartened” due to claims the character shouldn’t be played by a black actor.
He added: “You just get disheartened when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘it can’t be.’
“And it really turns out to be the colour of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the colour of my skin?
“That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.”
Unfortunately, Elba has ruled out becoming the next Bond this week, but didn’t put an end to 007 rumours altogether.
Asked by ITV London if he’d play the famed spy, the 49-year-old said: “No I’m not going to be James Bond.”
But quizzed on whether he’d like to take on the role at some point, Elba added: “Who wouldn’t?”
He was also asked “How amazing would it be to have a black James Bond?” on the red carpet for The Harder They Fall – a new western about black cowboys.
Elba replied: “It’s a sign of the times when we can stop talking about black, white, and colour.”
Tom Hardy is another star who has been named as a potential future Bond.
Asked this week whether he could see himself in the role, Mr Hardy replied: “I don’t know about that.”
But his co-star in Venom, Naomie Harris said of Mr Hardy: “He would be amazing. He’s such a phenomenal actor. I’m such a huge fan of his and then working with him on Venom, I have even more respect for him.
“He’s just like, incredible, the physicality that he brings to the role is just extraordinary. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Whoever eventually takes on the role, Mr Craig has already warned his Bond successor not to mess up the role.
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In October 2020, he was asked on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon if he had a message for the person who will replace him.
Craig replied: “Don’t f*** it up. It is a beautiful, amazing thing.”
Craig also talked about his decision to move on from the franchise after No Time to Die, the 25th Bond film.
He added: “I’ve given it everything I can.
“I’m so glad that I came back and did this last one. We had lots of loose threads we hadn’t tied up.
“The story just didn’t feel complete… I needed a break, I truly admit it.”
“I just needed to get my head away from it for a while and once I had, we started talking about storylines and things that we could do, and where we could take it.”
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