Height: 183cm, weight: 76 kilograms; slim build; eyes: blue; hair: black; scar down right cheek and on left shoulder; signs of plastic surgery on back of right hand; all-round athlete; expert pistol shot, boxer, knife-thrower; does not use disguises.
Anyone come to mind? No? That’s because this is Ian Fleming’s description of James Bond, as recorded by Soviet intelligence agency SMERSH in the book From Russia with Love.
Even a Frankensteinian amalgam of all the Bonds; Moore’s blue eyes; Brosnan’s hair; Craig and Connery’s athleticism, wouldn’t make a monster that would warrant a second look at Soviet immigration control. But in the spy game perhaps that’s a bonus.
This may seem a fairly pedantic rhetorical exercise, but it at least highlights one of the major flaws in the tedious cries of the depressingly vocal ‘keep Bond white’ brigade. If they are to be consistent with their orthodoxy to Fleming’s Bond, then all previous attempts must be declared physical failures, semi Bond’s, close but no vodka martini.
This brings us to ‘Why Idris Elba has to be the next Bond?’
Apart from the obvious joy of shoving his inevitably brilliant Bond down their thinly veiled racist objections, masquerading as unfounded loyalty to the source material. Idris Elba actually fits the description as well as any previous bond.
190cm, black hair, athletic. Put a fake scar on his cheek and he’s already closer to Fleming’s Bond than most of the previous attempts.
But More than anything, for the real fans of the series, James Bond is an attitude, a swagger, a suaveness, and let’s face it, a bit of an indestructible badass. If you’ve watched Idris Elba in pretty much anything he’s made since The Wire, and you still don’t believe he could embody the essence of what makes a great Bond, you need to ask yourself why?