James Bond author Anthony Horowitz has apologised for his comments about the prospect of Idris Elba being cast as 007, saying he “clumsily” chose the words “too street” to describe the Luther actor.
Horowitz, who spoke to the Mail on Sunday and launched a scathing critique of the recent iterations of the Bond franchise, released the statement on September 1 saying: “I am mortified to have caused offence.”
He added: “I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn’t my intention.
“I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice, but I’m a writer not a casting director so what do I know?”
The author, who has written “continuation” Bond novels, including the latest Trigger Mortis, and said Lester would be a more “suave” Bond, explained his use of the word “street” to describe Elba.
“Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offence.”
Many commentators had expressed anger at Horowitz’s choice of words, including the influential American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who tweeted: “Just be honest and say ‘James Bond’s being white is important to me’ and be done with it … Elba is ‘too street’ in much the same way that Obama was ‘too foreign,’ and King was ‘too communist.'”
— Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) September 1, 2015
Horowitz told the Daily Mail that Elba as “a bit too rough to play the part”, adding “It’s not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond.” Elba’s position as potentially the first ever black Bond was recently criticised by American rightwing radio host Rush Limbaugh who said: ” He was white and Scottish. Period .”
Yaphet Kotto, who starred in Live and Let Die said Elba should not be cast in the lead role, saying: “He cannot be black. Political correctness be damned. Play 003 or 006, but you cannot be 007.”– Guardian News & Media 2015