Roger Moore has denied making racist comments about Idris Elba’s chances of replacing Daniel Craig as James Bond.
The 87-year-old actor was quoted by Paris Match saying: “A few years ago, I said that Cuba Gooding Jnr would make an excellent Bond, but it was a joke!” He reportedly continued, “Although James may have been played by a Scot, a Welshman and an Irishman, I think he should be ‘English-English’. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting idea, but unrealistic.”
The comments caused a Twitter storm of protest, with both “Roger Moore” and “Idris Elba” trending in the social network over the weekend. Elba (42) is the bookmaker’s favourite to replace Daniel Craig and has received the current 007’s seal of approval . But Moore then took to Twitter to suggest he had been misquoted.
Moore also replied to a follower explaining his position. He wrote: “@FrediSmith when a journalist asks if ‘bond should be English’ and you agree, then quotes you saying it about Idris Elba it’s out of context.” He also retweeted another follower’s comment:
Moore’s apparent initial comments drew outrage on Twitter, the boxer Lennox Lewis referencing the recent “whitewashing” controversy relating to Ridley Scott’s biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, though he appeared to mix up Christian Bale and co-star Joel Edgerton.
The broadcaster Piers Morgan wrote:
It is not the first time Elba has been at the centre of a row over his ethnicity and job options. In 2010 the star of The Wire and Luther was forced to defend his casting as the Norse god Heimdall in superhero epic Thor after complaints from a minority of shortsighted Marvel comics fans.
“There has been a big debate about it: can a black man play a Nordic character?” he told TV Times . “Hang about, Thor’s mythical, right? Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers. That’s OK, but the colour of my skin is wrong.”
The controversy over Moore’s alleged comments comes after studios Sony and MGM released the debut trailer for new Bond movie Spectre late on Friday. Elba himself has not made any public comment. – © Guardian News & Media, 2015