Idris Elba ‘walks away from playing James Bond

Idris Elba has walked away from ‘years of talks’ with movie bosses to take over the role of James Bond, according to reports.

The star, 49, was the bookies’ favourite to replace Daniel Craig as the super spy, but is keen to pursue other roles – and has even put forward a list of proposed names to producer Barbara Broccoli of actors to play 007.

A source told The Sun: ‘Fans and Barbara wanted Idris but he wants to create something for himself.

‘However, he’s put forward names to play 007. He’s ‘informally’ in the decision-making process as he’s been in talks with producers for so long.’ 

MailOnline has contacted reps for Idris and James Bond producers for comment.  

While at the premiere of his movie The Harder They Fall in 2021, Idris said when asked if he’ll be considered as the next 007 he said: ‘No, I’m not going to be James Bond.’

He also told The Express about the rumours:  ‘I’m probably the most famous Bond actor in the world, and I haven’t even played the role.’

Idris then added: ‘Enough is enough. I can’t talk about it anymore.’ 

Despite this Ladbrokes awarded the actor 3/1 on taking on the role after Daniel announced 2021’s No Time To Die would be his last outing as the character. 

The bookmakers said: ‘We’ve seen a flurry of interest in Idris Elba and have slashed his odds accordingly, so much so that he’s now the clear favourite as far as we’re concerned to replace Daniel Craig as 007.’ 

Also rumoured to be in the running are Tom Hardy at 5/1, Rege-Jean Page 4/1 and Richard Madden 20/1.

James Bond producer Barbara previously admitted it will take a long time to choose Craig’s 007 replacement.

The filmmaker insisted it’s not as easy as picking an actor to take on the iconic role of the suave spy.

Speaking to Variety, Barbara said: ‘It’s a big decision.

‘It’s not just casting a role. It’s about a whole rethink about where we’re going.’

Earlier this year, the blockbuster franchise’s producer confirmed Idris was ‘part of the conversation’ to be the next 007.

She told Deadline’s Crew Call podcast: ‘Well, we know Idris, we’re friends with him, and he’s a magnificent actor.’

‘And, you know, it’s been a part of the conversation, but it’s always difficult to have the conversation when you have someone in the seat.’

Barbara added that there is no rush from Bond bosses to name the actor as they wanted to let the cast and crew savour the Craig’s final movie No Time To Die.

She said: ‘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.’

The producer also hinted at a reimagining of the franchise. explaining: ‘It’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through.’

She added though that any casting announcements are a way off. ‘We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time,’ she continued. ‘There isn’t a script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film. 

‘I’d say that filming is at least two years away.’ 

One thing is for sure though, Bond won’t be a woman. Broccoli told the PA news agency in September: ‘James Bond is a male character. I hope that there will be many, many films made with women, for women, by women, about women.

‘I don’t think we have to take a male character and have a woman portray him. So yes, I see him as male.’

Daniel revealed that he was originally told he’d have to star in four films by boss Broccoli, leading him to ask if the character could be ‘killed off.’

The actor, who made his fifth and final appearance as 007 in No Time To Die last year, confessed it was ‘a lot’ being told he’d have to make such a commitment to the part, setting the stage for the agent’s surprise death many years later.

Speaking on the Awards Chatter podcast earlier this year, Daniel said that he felt Bond was ‘happy and fulfilled’ when he finally met his maker, while detailing the moment he became’ choked up’ during his final day of filming.  

Daniel explained that after his first Bond outing in Casino Royale in 2006 he had asked Broccoli how many he had to make.

He said: ‘I was sitting in the back of a black Mercedes driving away from the Berlin premiere of Casino Royale with Barbara Broccoli in the back – just me and her – everything was good, the movie was doing great, it was like ‘we’d done it, it was time for a bit of celebration’.

‘I said ‘how many of these movies do I have to make?’ And she was like ‘four’. And I was like ‘oh, really? That’s a lot?’

‘I said ”OK, if I make four can I kill him off at the end?” And she paused, and she just went ”yes”.

‘I had a sort of plan in my head, I don’t know what the plan was, that if we got it right and if we got it to a place, then they needed to re-set.

‘And to properly re-set you need to get rid of one idea of it and start another idea of it. And I just felt like ‘get rid of my version and someone else can start, and they can start their version’.

‘But it also meant that what I could do is there could be some sort of arc, emotional arc, that I could aim for, and that something he does or has to do means he has to end and that he can’t be around any more.

And that was a really, really difficult story to figure out, but I knew that if we got it right then it would be the ultimate sacrifice, but the ultimate sacrifice for a good reason.’

The latest movie in the long-running spy franchise was delayed three times due to the coronavirus crisis but still managed to become the biggest Hollywood title of 2021 

There had been much speculation about whether the star was finished as 007 after 2015’s Spectre but he revealed that there was one story thread from his first Bond film, 2006’s Casino Royale, that coaxed him to return for one last time as the iconic secret agent.

‘I thought I probably was physically not capable of doing another. For me, it was very cut and dried that I wasn’t coming back,’ Daniel told Total Film. 

Broccoli added that Craig was, ‘so exhausted after that film,’ adding they knew the actor needed a break.

Nearly two years passed before Barbara and her half-brother Michael Wilson, who run Eon Productions together, approached Daniel about doing one more Bond movie, when Daniel recalled a story thread from Casino Royale that he wanted to complete.

‘We started talking about it and I went, ‘There might be a story we need to finish here – something we started in Casino (Royale),” Daniel said.

”Something to do with Vesper, and Spectre, and something that was connected, in a way.’ It started to formulate. And I thought, ‘Here we go,” he added.

Mirror