For American TV viewers, British actor Idris Elba will forever be Russell “Stringer” Bell, the business-savvy Baltimore drug dealer he so deftly played in David Simon’s HBO tour de force, The Wire. For Brits, he’s DCI John Luther, the quiet, brooding, badass detective. And for all the fanboys—at least the ones that were old enough to watch it in the theater—he’s Roland “The Gunslinger” Deschain from recent Stephen King movie adaptation, The Dark Tower.
But what about James Bond, whom Elba was rumored to be in line to portray, if Daniel Craig didn’t re-sign his contract, a role that would’ve made the actor an international superstar? “I think not,” he recently told BuzzFeed, who asked him whether he thought he’d ever get the chance to play the famed British spy.
However, Elba followed that up by saying, “But you really need to ask the [Bond] producers. Like I can just [call them and ask,] ‘Hey, I’m gonna play Bond next! No, it’s Idris. Hello?’ No one wants it.”
Of course, Craig made a splash a few weeks ago on U.S. television, revealing that he had again signed on to play Bond on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
It’s unclear how many more times Craig will play Bond going forward, but the new movie will make it the Brit’s fifth turn. That’s one time less than fan-favorite Sean Connery and two less than Sir Roger Moore, who portrayed Bond the most of any actor. Read: Craig can’t do it forever, so there’s still hope. And if George Lazenby can rise to the occasion—albeit for a single turn—certainly Elba can.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.