James Bond has found its new actor — well, kind of.
For months, rumors circulated that Idris Elba would play the first black James Bond, replacing actor Daniel Craig.
However, Elba denied all the rumors. He may have disqualified himself by saying he is a little too old to be playing James Bond.
Well, now there’s another James Bond. The lucky guy is British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo.
— Perez Hilton (@PerezHilton) August 13, 2015
Oyelowo was chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to lend his voice for the audio version of the new James Bond book, Trigger Mortis, written by Anthony Horowitz.
— BBC Africa (@BBCAfrica) August 13, 2015
Though Oyelowo was not chosen to play Bond on the big screen, he still is honored to portray the character in an audio book. He said, “I am officially the only person on planet Earth who can legitimately say: ‘I am the new James Bond’ – even saying that name is the cinematic equivalent of doing the ‘to be or not to be’ speech.”
The casting, of course, was not without issues about race since the iconic character has been white for years. Years ago, Oyelowo experienced ridicule and hate mail when he portrayed Henry VI (a traditionally white character). Despite the hate, Oyelowo says he is determined to move forward and face the challenges that come with the project.
He even shared his thoughts on Elba playing the role on screen. “He has all the qualities that you’d want in a James Bond. Because films and TV affect culture, a black Bond would be a cultural event … a statement … beyond just entertainment,” Oyelowo said.
Even though Oyelowo will not be seen as James Bond (only heard), the move was still considered a great “progress” when it comes to casting black actors. Hugh Quarshie, in 2012, was chosen to voice for another 007 book, Dr. No.