Idris Elba: 'Racist trolls made Bond rumours disgusting and off-putting'

Idris Elba has revealed trolls ruined his joy over rumours he was being lined up to be the next James Bond - insisting the idea became 'disgusting and off-putting' because it was made to be 'about race'

Idris Elba

Idris Elba has accused racist trolls or ruining his joy over rumours he was being lined up to be the next James Bond.

The 'Luther' star was previously the target of gossip suggesting he could take over the part of 007 following the departure of Daniel Craig and the 50-year-old actor said it initially felt like a "huge compliment" to be linked to the coveted job - but his delight was tarnished by the online hate over a Black movie star potentially playing the superspy for the first time.

He told the 'SmartLess' podcast: "The truth is, I was super complimented for a long time about this. I was like: ‘This is crazy!’ Because James Bond … We’re all actors and we understand that role. It’s one of those coveted [roles]. Being asked to be James Bond was like, ‘Okay, you’ve sort of reached the pinnacle'."

He went on to add: "Essentially, it was a huge compliment that every corner of the world except from some corners, which we will not talk about, were really happy about the idea that I could be considered.

"Those that weren’t happy about the idea made the whole thing disgusting and off-putting because it became about race. It became about nonsense, and I got the brunt of it."

Idris previously touched on the issue of race in Hollywood when he declared he will no longer be referring to himself as a “Black actor”. He was hit with a flood of online criticism earlier this year when he revealed in an interview with Esquire he no longer applies the label to himself as he felt it put him in “a box” and promoted the world’s obsession with dividing people into races.

Idris said: "As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth. "Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure. Racism is very real. "But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be. I stopped describing myself as a black actor when I realised it put me in a box. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: it’s just skin. Rant over."

He later hit out at being trolled over the comments, telling The Guardian: “Me saying I don’t like to call myself a black actor is my prerogative. “That’s me, not you. So for you to turn around and say to me, I’m ‘denying my blackness.’ “On what grounds? Did you hear that? Where am I denying it? And what for? It’s just stupid. Whatever.” Idris added the backlash against his “Black actor” remarks is proof social media can be a “conflict incubator”. Days after his chat with Esquire, Idris clarified on Twitter about his remarks on race: “There isn't a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not. “Being an ‘actor’ is a profession, like being an ‘architect’, they are not defined by race. However, If YOU define your work by your race, that is your Perogative. Ah lie?"

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