Idris Elba “too street” to play James Bond, according to Anthony Horowitz.

Idris Elba Just Got Called “Too Street” to Play Bond. Here’s Why That’s Even Crazier Than it Sounds.

Idris Elba Just Got Called “Too Street” to Play Bond. Here’s Why That’s Even Crazier Than it Sounds.

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 1 2015 1:40 PM

Idris Elba Just Got Called “Too Street” to Play Bond. Here’s Why That’s Even Crazier Than it Sounds.

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Look at all that “street” going on there.

Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz.

A man named Anthony Horowitz, author of the latest James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, has thrown his two cents into the long-running debate over who should play the next James Bond after Daniel Craig, and he says that Idris Elba is “a bit too ‘street’ ” to take on the role. “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a colour issue … Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”

To begin with: Prior to playing the legendary spy, Craig was known to play “street”—or whatever we call it when working-class white people are involved—in movies like Layer Cake and The Mother. He was even pretty “rough,” some would say. Original Bond Sean Connery, son of a truck driver, was in the Royal Navy, where he got two—two!—tattoos.

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Apparently, Idris Elba, the man so often photographed in a stylish tux and widely considered the epitome of suave, even when playing a character who’s actually “street,” isn’t the right guy to play Bond. (Horowitz suggests another black actor, Adrian Lester, would be better.) Or maybe he’s never heard Driis’s silky smooth raps—yes, Elba also occasionally does the music thing—with lyrics that include “And I’m in that zone, bone-hard diamond cutter/ dick thick like homemade butter.”

I honestly don’t know what Horowitz is thinking—but here’s hoping he doesn’t have any say in the casting for the post-Craig Bond. 

Update, Sept. 1, 2015: Unsurprisingly, Horowitz has apologized for his statements:

Aisha Harris is a Slate culture writer and host of the Slate podcast Represent.