Daniel Craig is back as 007 in a story that sees the infamous spy traversing the globe to get to the root of a sinister organisation known only as Spectre, in his fourth outing in the iconic role.
Yet before Craig was cast in 2005 the debate around a black Bond heated up with many feeling that it was about time to challenge convention. Now, ten years later, with similar debate still simmering, we look at which black actors would’ve been suited to the role over the past few decades.
60s and 70s: Sir Sean Connery, the first big-screen Bond dominated the silver screen in the 60s, followed by Sir Roger Moore. Yet had a black actor been chosen for the role, the history of cinema may have been very different. He may not be British but there’s no doubt that the distinguished Sir Sidney Poitier could have carried off the role. Becoming the first African American to win a Best Actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field in 1964, his onscreen presence, groundbreaking talent and US military training would have more than equipped him for the role.
80s and 90s: In the late 80’s, Timothy Dalton received his Licence to Kill and took 007 to edgier and darker places. Then, in the 90s, Pierce Brosnan owned the screen as a James Bond with some of the niftiest gadgets in film. With a career that soared in the 80s and 90s (and continues to do so), Denzel Washington would be our pick for a black James Bond of that period. He can act, he’s been known to do his own stunts, he’s suave in a suit, and he commands the screen. What’s more, the American mastered an impeccable British accent for 1988’s For Queen & Country in which he played a disillusioned British soldier. That’s Denzel. Denzel Washington.
Now: Current 007, Daniel Craig, is rumoured to be tired of the role. The name that comes up very often when a replacement is proposed is Idris Elba. The British star who has played the most iconic role of all – Madiba in Long Walk To Freedom – has expressed interest in the role, but says that it’s the fans who could turn speculation into reality. “If human beings want to know if there’s any connectivity between all of us, the one thing I’ve heard around the world universally is: ‘You’ll be great at James Bond!’” Elba told Variety recently. “If it should happen, that’s proof there’s connectivity amongst human beings. If everyone wants something, they can make it happen. That would be true.”
Is Idris Elba your pick for a black Bond? Tell us why or let us know whom you think would be better suited to the role by commenting below.
Spectre is currently showing at cinemas countrywide. For the first time, men across the globe will be able to emulate the superspy more closely than ever by buying the very same watch Bond wears in the movie, the Omega Seamaster 300 “SPECTRE” Limited Edition.