IDRIS ELBA has admitted he felt “disheartened” by the personal backlash he suffered in the wake of reports suggesting he would eventually replace Daniel Craig as James Bond.
The Luther actor was previously the front-runner to take over the coveted role from Craig after the latter declared in one interview that he would rather “slash his wrists” than play 007 again.
Things have changed considerably since then, however, with Craig signing on for one final Bond outing and Elba’s odds drifting with the likes of Ireland’s very own Cillian Murphy emerging as serious contenders.
Elba continues to be discussed in connection to the role and, despite previously indicating he had no desire to discuss the prospect any further, broke his silence to talk about the reports and the negative response they generated.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, The Wire star admitted he was left upset by what he viewed as a racist backlash to the idea among fans.
"You just get disheartened, when you get people from a generational point of view going, 'It can't be'” he said.
"And it really turns out to be the colour of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn't work, or it did work, would it be because of the colour of my skin? That's a difficult position to put myself into when I don't need to."
Despite the negativity surrounding his possible casting, Elba admits the part would be difficult to turn down if it did eventually come his way.
"James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character, that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey," he said.
"Of course, if someone said to me. 'Do you want to play James Bond?,' I'd be like, 'Yeah!' That's fascinating to me. But it's not something I've expressed, like, 'Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond'."