The Spy Who Saw No Color: We Don’t Need a Black James Bond

Did I get your attention? Good.

The net was all aflame this week after film bloggers exaggerated a few comments from the current Bond man, Daniel Craig. Craig made some offhand remarks that he wanted Skyfall to be his last 007 appearance.

Naturally, internet speculation has blown this thing out of all proportion. Traitor! Screw that guy! I’m totally boycotting this jerk right after I see that Skyfarm one in IMAX ohmigod. If sticking up for the man hasn’t yet been equated to a Klan rally, allow me to introduce a little objectivity and suggest maybe the guy’s not completely evil? If Craig blasted taking the role to begin with or had he stumbled onto Conan’s couch and started spilling Wild Turkey all over Andy Richter gurgling I never needed that Bond crap to be famoussssss, I’d be picketing for a much deserved nut shot, too. Not the case. My guess is that the guy is grateful for the role putting him on the map, but he’d probably prefer to take on new projects, like say that Golden Compass sequel everyone’s always talking about or a movie about stealing priceless artwork from Nazis. 

Hey, I tried.

What those more read, better written film blogs tend to resort to — after all the manufactured hubbub dies down — is a mad blogging rush to fill what everyone now perceives to be a gigantic gaping hole in the 007 role. We’re talking ‘5 Actors Who Could Play James Bond’ lists. And lots. Michael Fassbender’s been thrown out more than once and in at least one awkward fan trailer. But more often than not, the numero uno name has been Idris Elba. And more often than not, this suggestion gets framed like Wouldn’t it be crazy if a black guy played James Bond??? Imagine the fury! Heck, I had a brief conversation with Grantland’s Jonah Keri on this very thing. Very brief, very Twitter.

Ignoring Mr Keri’s miraculously quick concept of studio productivity (another two in five years might be a bit much), he raises a larger point. Why Idris Elba? Why all those ‘Here Are Some Suave British Black Dudes?’ We don’t need a black James Bond. We just need a great actor.

Let me get something out of the way. If the only reason you’re screaming IDRIS ELBA IDRIS ELBA is so that we can finally have a black Bond for the sake of having a ‘black Bond’, you’re a terrible person. Your motivations are fueled by skin color. Stop please, because you’re speaking from the same messed up ass backwards ideology as those who claim Bond can only be white. And since the Bond canon hasn’t been consistent since 1969, thems dudes are all wrong, dawg.

If you hadn’t noticed, Daniel Craig and that George Lazenby dude look nothing alike. Both were James Bond. Sean Connery hails from Edinburgh, Scotland while Roger Moore is straight outta London. Both Bond. SPECTRE Archvillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld has been played by seven different actors. Seven. How uncomfortable is that shit? James Bond hasn’t been consistent since You Only Live Twice. So please, enough with the “James Bond isn’t…” arguments. They’re all wrong.

So you might be saying, Exactly! This is exactly why we can have a black James Bond. Not so fast. Yes, James Bond is a flexible character whose mythology spans countries, people, events, and decades — which is a nice way of saying it’s really goddamn convoluted. James Bond can be anything, but the motivation needs to be right. If we’re casting Idris Elba because he’s black, not only is that ill-intentioned, but isn’t it kind of insulting to him? Hey dude. Loved you on The Wire. Will you be our black guy? 

A studio could absolutely have a black James Bond. You find some way to make a gay Bond work, I’m all in. Go nuts. Make a Lady Bond — a Jamie Bond. Or maybe it would be Jaymee Bond. The X-rated parody. Whaddup, Evan Stone?!  So long as there’s a solid story and your motivations aren’t terrible, you’re golden… eye. Sorry.

On the other hand, when you have no story and are just making controversial casting choices, you’re no longer making a movie; you’re trying to piss people off. Screw you for trying to do that. Should Daniel Craig forego his commitment to two more Bond films, I have two requirements for whomever wants to take over: 1) They should be passionate about the role and 2) they should be a good actor. Here’s where I once again come back to Idris Elba. The guy’s a great actor. And if that’s your reasoning, bring it. I’m there.

Again, we don’t need a black James Bond. We just need a solid actor. You fucking racists.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Spy Who Saw No Color: We Don’t Need a Black James Bond

  1. jeremy09

    It’s a combination of A) Idris Elba is a great actor who OOZES British cool with every action, and B) Yes, people would like to see more great actors of color given bigger opportunities. Diversity is NEVER a bad thing, especially when the talent level can remain consistently high.

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