Idris Elba ‘bows out’ of James Bond race despite backing from 007 bosses

Idris Elba responds to James Bond casting question in 2021

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This weekend, On Sunday April 17, Elba kicks off his brand new TV show on BBC Two: Idris Elba’s Fight School. The reality show follows the actor guiding and training young people in the art and discipline of boxing.

Long before Elba was a contender to become the next James Bond, boxing was a large part of the Hollywood star’s life.

Elba said of the show: “Boxing gave me a new perspective. This is the type of guidance I wanted to give to these young people. I want them to learn discipline, endurance, intelligence and power – skills they can take into their everyday life.”

He added: “When I was young, I joined a boxing club and my trainer Joe took me under his wing, which was a real turning point, teaching me discipline and control.” This discipline and mastery gained over himself through boxing gave Elba the initiative to follow his dream of becoming an actor.

Since then, he has been the leading man in a number of big projects, including Pacific Rim, The Suicide Squad, Luther, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and many more. And his ever-growing popularity has made him one of the most popular options to become the next James Bond after Daniel Craig stepped down following No Time To Die.

However, he has now made a concerted effort to step away from these rumours.

In recent months Elba announced he is moving away from acting. Instead, he’ll be focussing on his music career. 

Elba revealed: “The thing about making music is it’s a very consuming process. It’s very difficult to shoot a movie and then go off into the studio or make a song. It’s like trying to build a soufflé while making a brick wall.” He added: “Some may think, well, it will be the death of your acting if your music’s s**t. I’ve dealt with the internal struggle of that over the years. So now I’m at peace and I’ve chosen: This is what I’m doing, and I’m going to do it. Some will love it and some will hate it.”

The 49-year-old’s move away from acting comes shortly after the Bond bosses, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, revealed he was “part of the conversation” for the next Bond movie.

Idris Elba reacts to GoldenEye in 1995

The legendary Bond bosses have been extremely quiet about who will become the next Bond after Craig stepped down. And while they won’t reveal any specifics just yet, Broccoli recently opened up about Elba’s chances.

She said: “Well, we know Idris, we’re friends with him, and he’s a magnificent actor.” She went on to say Elba is “part of” the conversation for the future of 007.

But the 61-year-old added: “But it’s always difficult to have the conversation when you have someone in the seat. I think we have decided that until No Time To Die has had its run and Daniel has been able to – well, we’ve all been able to savour, reap the benefits of Daniel’s wonderful tenure, we’re not gonna think about, or talk about anybody else, actors to play the role or storylines, we just want to live in the moment.”

These comments came just months after Elba was grilled over whether he’ll become the next James Bond.

Elba was asked at the red carpet premiere of The Harder They Fall if he would become the next man of mystery.

He responded: “No I’m not going to be James Bond.”

The star was then quizzed over whether he would want to become 007. 

Elba confessed: “Who wouldn’t? How amazing would it be to have a black James Bond? It’s a sign of the times when we can stop talking about black, white, and colour.”

Despite the fact Elba has claimed he is stepping away from acting – and said he would not be the next James Bond – his odds have remained strong in recent months.

Ladbrokes have awarded Elba impressive 12/1 odds on becoming 007 next. However good these odds are, he is still far from the top of the leaderboard. At the moment, Bridgerton hunk Regé-Jean Page is the frontrunner with 9/4.

The bookies’ Alex Apati said: “Idris Elba was once a clear favourite in the Bond betting, and while he’s still very much among the frontrunners, punters are seemingly convinced 007 chiefs will look elsewhere.”

James Bond No Time To Die is available on digital, DVD and Blu-ray now.

Idris Elba’s Fight School airs tomorrow on BBC Two at 9pm.


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