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Monday, November 09, 2015

If Idris Elba Was James Bond

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As current James Bond, Daniel Craig, is talking retirement from the role, one particular actor's name keeps popping up as his successor. I didn't feel like putting a colon or a dash in that previous sentence, but that actor is Idris Elba. Elba is best known for his role as the business minded gangster, Stringer Bell, on The Wire, but he's been in a ton of recent films, including Thor, Prometheus, and Pacific Rim. While some might think Elba is a controversial choice for the role, I say that line of thinking is ridiculous. What living British actor can portray that kind of icy cool, with just a speck of vulnerability, coupled with an imposing physicality? Bond's got to have a sort of smoothness and intelligence, and Elba can do that just as well. Who else, at this exact moment in history can equal his fit for the role?
It doesn't matter what you think, I'm right, and the answer is "no one."
However, there is one caveat (I saved the colon for now): Daniel Craig, who has filmed four James Bond films in the last decade, and who is beginning to seem a bit too old for the role as it is, is 47. Elba is 43.
Idris Elba is not a young man. For further reference, Sean Connery was 31 when he filmed Dr. No, the first James Bond film. So here's what I think Eon Productions (who make the James Bond films) should do (here comes the second colon...I limited myself to two for this entry):
Don't reboot the series. Don't make another film about how the double-0 program is under attack, or some extreme thing is happening and Bond has to go rogue, or get revenge. Write a script where Bond is assigned a spy mission, and have Bond undertake that mission. Nothing about how the very fabric of MI-6 is threatened with destruction. Just write a simple story about some supervillian with a dastardly plan, send James Bond through some exotic locales to stop him, and throw in some thrilling action sequences to boot. Make sure the script can be shot as a film that runs no longer than two hours (Spectre had no business being two and a half hours long!). Cast Elba for the role.
Yes, like George Lazenby, who starred in arguably the finest Bond film put to celluloid, give Elba a one-off shot at James Bond. If he's still feeling fresh afterward, and everything works out, give him a second one.
Less pressure for everyone. Less invested. Smaller budget due to less minutes being filmed. Elba gets to take on the role at least once before he is past his prime. All of us Bond fans get to reap the rewards...

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