James Bond Author Apologizes for Saying Idris Elba Is “Too Street” to Play 007: “I Am Mortified”

James Bond Author: Idris Elba Is "Too Street" to Play 007
Anthony Horowitz, who wrote the latest book in the James Bond series, has released a statement apologizing for saying Idris Elba wouldn't be a good fit for 007 because he's "too street"  Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Well then! Idris Elba has long been a fan favorite to take over the role of James Bond from current portrayer Daniel Craig — there's even a Facebook fan group with more than 33,000 likes in support of the casting — but one person connected with the legendary spy series isn't sold on the idea.

British author Anthony Horowitz, who wrote the latest book in the Bond series, Trigger Mortis, told the Daily Mail in a new interview that he thinks the Luther actor, 42, is too "street" to play the famed MI6 agent.

"Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better. For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part," Horowitz told the UK site of the Wire star, noting he'd prefer Hustle actor Adrian Lester. "It's not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too 'street' for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah."

Predictably, the comments were met with swift and widespread backlash online. In response, Horowitz tweeted an apology on Sept. 1, writing, "I'm really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn't my intention. I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice, but I'm a writer not a casting director, so what do I know? Clumsily, I chose the word 'street' as Elba's gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind, but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offence."

Horowitz was more complimentary of Craig's Bond, though he's not a fan of the two most recent films in the franchise. "Quantum Of Solace just went wrong. Skyfall is my least favorite," he told the Daily Mail of the 2008 and 2012 sequels to Casino Royale. "I know it is heresy to say so, but it is the one Bond film I have never liked." 

Casino Royale, on the other hand, is aces with the author. "Daniel Craig is a terrific Bond," Horowitz said of the actor, 47, who will reprise the role in the upcoming movie Spectre. "Casino Royale is probably my favorite. Of the films after [Sean] Connery, it is easily the best. Fantastic. A total return to the gritty seriousness of it." 

Craig is the seventh big-screen Bond since Connery debuted the role in 1962's Dr. No. Other portrayers include Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan

Elba, for his part, has dismissed speculation about his link to 007 as just that — speculation. "Honestly, it's a rumor that's really starting to eat itself," the Golden Globe winner said earlier this year at London's British Film Institute. "If there was ever any chance of me getting Bond, it's gone."

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