Would you accept a black Bond?

edited March 2014 in Actors Posts: 11,902
I started this because I just read a poll where Idris Elba was voted as the most popular choice for the next Bond.

Now Elba won't get the role but I found it interesting because that to me signals that most people wouldn't mind a black Bond. I know the other thread was closed ages ago but I don't see why we can't have this discussion. It's a touchy subject for a few members but as long as posters aren't needlessy aggressive and we all keep it civil and respectful I don't see why we can't talk about it.

I don't see what would be wrong with it. Bond is a character that's constantly changing and there's nothing about the modern Bond that suggests to me that he couldn't be played by a black actor. Besides, Daniel Craig proved that you can be Flemingesque while looking nothing like Fleming's Bond. I've read comments like "Fleming would be spinning in his grave!!!" but they've already made Bond nothing like Fleming's character before. Roger Moore is a posh white bloke but other than that, the only thing his portrayal had in common with Fleming's Bond is his name. But still, we all love him. Same with Brosnan. He was white but Fleming's Bond wasn't an Irish action hero. Still, while Brosnan divides fans on here (I think he's one of the best Bonds, others think he's the worst) his films were still successful and most peoples criticisms of him seem to be that he wasn't entirely original, not that he wasn't Flemingesque enough.

Maybe a mod could set up a poll?
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Comments

  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 15,496

    Anything is possible. I can imagine a Bond movie with Elba. But it would have to be a really good movie. The hook here is that your intent has to be one of casting a GREAT Bond regardless of colour, not just casting a non-white actor for the sake of it.
    Anyway, that's my open-minded response here, now I'll vacate this thread and watch the inevitable firefight from a safe distance... :D
  • Posts: 11,902
    chrisisall wrote:
    The hook here is that your intent has to be one of casting a GREAT Bond regardless of colour, not just casting a non-white actor for the sake of it.

    I think you've summed it up perfectly here.
  • Posts: 2,358
    I think it would be stupid. It would be like casting Michael Fassbender as Shaft. He might be good fit but it doesn't work that way.
  • Posts: 11,078
    Are you sure there is no thread about it somewhere?

    Anyway, regarding Idris Elba, he is the most popular as Craig's successor because his name has come out, the same way Jude Law was at a time, or Clive Owens, or any other famous actor. Elba is an amazing actor, but unfortunately being the flavour of the month now, his name comes up as Bond.

    Regarding Bond being black, I am against it the same way I am against an American actor or a Croatian actor playing Bond. That is my default position on it: Bond should be British, or at the very least coming from the Commonwealth and yes white. Now of course my position would be ready to change should a black actor convince me that I am wrong, that his take on the character is so good, so fresh, so unique, that we can disregard the fact that Bond was conceived as a white person.. This has not happened yet. Idris Elba is an amazing actor and he appears to be a great guy, I worshiped him in The Wire, but he is not Bond. As Buonaparte Ignace Gallia, he'd be perfect. Not as Bond. Neither as Blofeld, by the way, who is Eastern European with German and (maybe) French blood.

    And look at Colin Salmon, maybe the Black actor most associated with this hypothesis. Brosnan thought it would have been a great idea. Regardless of his role as Robinson, had he played Bond we would have had a black Brosnan, some good looking Bond with little substance, hardly a fresh take.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.
    Posts: 29,942
    There's been countless threads on this and it always goes one way: downward. Race issues will get brought up at some point and it'll be closed, it always happens.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited March 2014 Posts: 12,084
    Well, I'd never say never of course, but this one about a black Bond has of course been doing the rounds since the 1990s (mainly Colin Salmon and some others) - I have the newspaper cuttings in my Bond scrapbooks to attest to that fact. I don't think Fleming would be too enamoured with the idea, but as a chat show host said to Pierce Brosnan in a 1999 interview he's been dead a long time. Still, be that as it may, I very much respect Fleming's worldview and a black James Bond would never, I'm sure, ever have registered in his mind. Shakespeare's Othello, now that's a different matter...

    There's nothing whatever racist in my saying I wouldn't favour a black Bond. Hell, I have a cousin married to a lovely black man and they have two mixed race children. I think that for now a black Bond would smack of tokenism and would be bit gimmicky unless they get a really good actor. So, I'm not totally against the idea at some point in the future, but not for now.
  • Posts: 11,902
    Ludovico wrote:
    Are you sure there is no thread about it somewhere?

    There were two but they were both closed.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited March 2014 Posts: 12,084
    Ludovico wrote:
    Are you sure there is no thread about it somewhere?

    There were two but they were both closed.

    Well may I say I don't see any problem with such a thread if it stays on the line it has so far without politicising the issue of race. I think we can have mature discussions here on this community without recourse to playing the race card. Any hateful comments can be removed by a mod, though I really hope that there won't be any need for that. This is a legitimate thread @thelivingroyale has posted.
  • Posts: 11,902
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Ludovico wrote:
    Are you sure there is no thread about it somewhere?

    There were two but they were both closed.

    Well my I say I don't see any problem with such a thread if it stays on the line it has so far without politicising the issue of race. I think we can have mature discussions here on this community without recourse to playing the race card. Any hateful comments can be removed by a mod, though I really hope that there won't be any need for that. This is a legitimate thread @thelivingroyale has posted.

    Yeah I think it's a topic worth discussing. The threads have gone downhill in the past but that's only when people have resorted to name calling, racism and aggressive posts. I think if we're all mature about it then it's fine.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.
    Posts: 29,942
    @Dragonpol, I think any topic could be touched on these forums, but almost always there are one or two (religion/politics/race) that always get derailed somehow. I'll admit, a good portion of us on here can have a proper discussion or debate without turning into racist, sexist name-callers, but others, not so much.
  • barryt007barryt007 Hunting Kara Milovy with a massive elephant gun.
    Posts: 15,337
    No.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited August 10 Posts: 12,084
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Dragonpol, I think any topic could be touched on these forums, but almost always there are one or two (religion/politics/race) that always get derailed somehow. I'll admit, a good portion of us on here can have a proper discussion or debate without turning into racist, sexist name-callers, but others, not so much.

    Oh, yes I know what you mean. I try to be pretty open-minded though I think a black Bond is not right for just now (or maybe ever, as he was not written that way of course). Think of all the terrible racist jokes people (idiots) would make of Bond's change in skin colour - just look at the savaging they gave the announcement of Daniel Craig for being blond and short - and he was white!

    Some members who post here exited other Bond fora where political and racial discussions (not necessarily even on Bond) had led to threads being closed due to point-scoring polemics by certain members with their own axes to grind. I think we're better than that here, though.
  • LicencedToKilt69007LicencedToKilt69007 Belgium, Wallonia
    Posts: 523
    In all honesty, no.

    For me, Bond should stay as he was presented (it's about the same discuss we had about having a blonde bond) by Fleming in the books. Full stop. It's not about racism but call this a matter of exactness. If the character wasn't much described, I would certainly open my mind to other possibilities.

    Imagine one day, we've had a black Bond, Denzel Washington would have been my choice.
  • JakeDelToroJakeDelToro Universal Exports
    Posts: 28
    I think the only way a black Bond could work, currently, is if the series is rebooted. To have a character change race between films would take some seriously stupid plot contrivance that would not suit a Bond film at all.

    I have no objection to a black Bond but I think it would come across as a publicity stunt and would cause a controversy storm that the producers would not want to be a part of. It would be a brave choice and it would have to have all the elements fit perfectly together; script, cast, story, direction so the whole thing would be riding on the gamble of the film being pretty much perfect. If there were any element out of sync then the fallout would potentially be horrendous.

    Casting a black actor as Bond would be a massive gamble and the cost of failure would be so astronomically high compared to the potential of success that, for me, it would not be worth taking.

    That said, whoever is cast in the future has my full support until I can see them in a finished film and fully judge them properly.
  • Posts: 10,140
    Pure and simply no. I am not being offensive in any way but we all know who and what Bond is.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    Posts: 15,253
    No. You can only change Fleming's source material only so much. Fleming wrote James Bond as a white male. That's how it should stay. I'm okay with other characters having their races changed. (Felix and Moneypenny.) But Bond? No.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited August 10 Posts: 12,084
    Murdock wrote:
    No. You can only change Fleming's source material only so much. Fleming wrote James Bond as a white male. That's how it should stay. I'm okay with other characters having their races changed. (Felix and Moneypenny.) But Bond? No.

    Exactly how I feel, too, though you expressed it much better than my rambling posts above ever could. And yes, we've had race changes to other characters and I'm fine with that too. Felix has even changed race twice if you think about it (NSNA)! And we had a black Chief of Staff in Charles Robinson (Colin Salmon).

    The OP is right in what he says about Moore and Brosnan, of course and Daniel Craig with the blonde hair and (relative) short stature etc. The Bond films and their literary source novels and short stories are very different animals, of course. There need be no fidelity to Fleming at all if they so wish and this has of course been the case with a good many of the Bond films in the past, as we all know.
  • edited March 2014 Posts: 11,902
    I don't get why the line is drawn at skin colour though. Personality change is fine, hair colour change is fine but a black Bond is straying too far from the source material?

    I think in terms of staying faithful to Fleming, changing Bond's skin colour doesn't make much difference. If Daniel Craig was black would Die Another Day be closer to Fleming than Casino Royale?
  • Posts: 6,669
    Elba is now 42 years old with Craig delivering next year a Bond movie Elba would be 45 years old before he would get the job, unless Craig goes for a 5th. So he is out and too old.

    That said I personally do not rate Idris Alba that high.

    And a coloured James Bond is just plain stupid and catering for too many folks that want to show they are not bigoted. Changing James Bond is worde than bigoted, it is changing colours.
  • edited March 2014 Posts: 11,902
    I'm not saying Elba should do it. I'm saying that him winning that poll made me think that most people would accept a black Bond.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited March 2014 Posts: 12,084
    I don't get why the line is drawn at skin colour though. Personality change is fine, hair colour change is fine but a black Bond is straying too far from the source material?

    I think in terms of staying faithful to Fleming, changing Bond's skin colour doesn't make much difference. If Daniel Craig was black would Die Another Day be closer to Fleming than Casino Royale?

    Of course not, but he's a very British character and LALD and DN showed Fleming was very much British Raj in character and worldview and any black characters that did appear were either villains (Mr Big, Tee Hee Johnson, Whisper etc.) or were servile native allies (Quarrel). He may not have been an out-and-out racist as such, but his views on blacks are today considered rather quaint and patronising in nature, though they may have been deemed perfectly normal at the time (though not by everyone - Amis and Snelling noted that Fleming did not describe Americans best). Some even find it offensive, so a black Bond would probably not sit well with this literary heritage and I imagine that Fleming would have been dead set against such an idea, though of course he did respect black culture and was fascinated by it in fact (see TMWTGG on the Rastafarians for example) and he did enjoy black music like the Ink Spots and Sammy Davis Jnr. (whose amusing little cameo in DAF was cut from the finished film). Fleming had black staff at Goldeneye, although they stayed away from the garden table when he was entertaining guests "as those were Colonial days", as one of his black servants put it in a documentary once. So, you see, the background and literary heritage of the Bond character construct is very much ingrained as white British male, just like most of the judges in the law courts of the land (the UK).
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    Posts: 15,253
    Each Bond actor up to this point looked like Fleming's Bond in one way or another. That's part of the times. Changing Bond's skin color is basically making him a new character altogether.

    And Daniel Craig isn't black so your counter argument is irrelevant. I'm not trying to shoot you down, but I base my opinions on what Bond's race should be based on Fleming's writing.

    Just because Bond is a huge franchise doesn't mean everything about him is interchangeable.
  • edited March 2014 Posts: 11,078
    I don't get why the line is drawn at skin colour though. Personality change is fine, hair colour change is fine but a black Bond is straying too far from the source material?

    I think in terms of staying faithful to Fleming, changing Bond's skin colour doesn't make much difference. If Daniel Craig was black would Die Another Day be closer to Fleming than Casino Royale?

    But the line is not only drawn at skin colour. I am not certain how a redhead Bond would be accepted (a gingerhead Bond with freskles, forget about it), but there are other things people would not accept: a fat or chubby Bond, a Bond that is too short, etc. I brought forward some actors here at future Bonds and thought they'd do fine... until I saw their height on IMDB. Not short, but not tall enough. And I thought: no, that would not do. And I am talking here about actors I suggested.

    And nobody here would want an obese, or even a chubby Bond. Yes, Sean Connery was getting on the heavy side in DAF, but he had been cast as Bond in his prime and in a much better shape.
    I'm not saying Elba should do it. I'm saying that him winning that poll made me think that most people would accept a black Bond.
    I'm not saying Elba should do it. I'm saying that him winning that poll made me think that most people would accept a black Bond.

    This poll does not show that people would accept a black Bond. It shows they love Idris Elba and would accept this particular black actor as Bond, in this still highly hypothetical situation. Like they accepted Hugh Grant, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor as Bond. Oh, and add Robbie Williams into the mix. My sister-in-law still thinks it would have been a good idea. People are very accepting about things when they remain hypothetical.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    Posts: 15,197
    Two things before anything else:
    1) This is not theoretical science. Everyone can bring their arguments to the table but whether or not one accepts the arguments as valid is a subjective matter.
    2) This thread can be a good thread, but we are experienced enough to know how quickly this can end up in the bin. So at the merest sign of trouble, please flag.

    Now, here's my personal view on the matter, with full respect to those who have opposing views.
    Bond cannot be black.
    My rulebook is Ian Fleming and he was always very particular about Bond: his looks, habits and so forth. I understand that Leiter wasn't black either and that M was never a woman. Let's just say I can remain very relaxed under the pressure of secondary characters undergoing some fundamental change.
    But Bond is the character, in some ways he is Fleming. Fleming 'wrote' Blofeld, M, Leiter, Moneypenny, ... but he 'breathed' Bond, he 'lived' Bond. Still, peripheral changes are not that big a deal for me, even regarding Bond. Dark hair or not, I don't mind. But for me, Bond, even the current Bond, has his roots in the 50s, in the age of post-WWII cold war politics. Skin colour did make a difference back then. James Bond would never have been black, not with what Fleming had in mind. Maybe, if Ian Fleming had written Bond today, it wouldn't have mattered. But then the entire character of Bond would have been different too no doubt. The Craig Bond, the way I see it, is still a direct incarnation of the Bond who was introduced to us in the novel Casino Royale. Skin colour was a pretty fundamental element of a British character. James Bond still carries that heritage with him today.
    So no matter how good an actor Idris is, I welcome him in a Bond movie any time, but not as James Bond.
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 10,683
    See, one if the issues I have with casting a black James Bond is, that at this point in time it will always be a case of stunt casting. Elba himself said he wouldn't take the role if it was offered to him simply because of that alone. There aren't enough black actors (British) who are really getting the opportunity and in some cases aren't getting themselves out there for more prominent roles.

    When I think of notable black British actors, making it and working with top directors 3 names come to mind:

    Idris Elba
    Chiwetel Ejiofor
    David Oyelowo

    However, more black actors need their own vehicles, they need to be cast in more prominent roles to get more traction with the general viewing public. A black Bond is just too jarring at the moment and unfairly too distracting.

    If you look at the landscape of movies today, comic book movies are dominating the screens and BO and there are plenty of black comic book characters but they rarely see the light of day on the screen. I'm aching to see a black panther movie but I'm aware of the challenges the movie may face.

    And please, I wish people would stop suggesting black American actors. Denzel? Really? Jeez.

    Also, Brosnan endorsing Salmon to be Bond is utter bs. Yes, I know he actually suggested it but let's be real, Brosnan was merely paying lip service and being polite for a rather sensitive and controversial issue. Salmon is tall, British, well spoken and a good actor but he was too old for the part anyway, too recognised as a close MI6 agent and oh yeah, he's black too.

    The series needs to focus and concentrate on putting out great movies with really strong scripts without the added headache of unnecessary stunt casting. How about we actually see a black 00 agent in a speaking/action role before we jump the shark and cast Bond with a black man. Give us a more functional Charles Robinson type character; hell, give Felix something to do.

    As it stands, Bond is white and should remain that way. I don't see any need whatsoever to change that. Feel free to change the race of peripheral characters but Bond should remain as he is.
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Dancing at midnight under the BeBop Moon
    edited March 2014 Posts: 10,297
    I am happy for Bond to be black; I gave this some though quite a while ago. What he must be for me is British.

    I would have loved Elba as Bond, yes. The man has charisma, acting chops, and looks great. He could pull off the role with aplomb. And he's British. :) But he is too old to be hired for the role now (with Daniel still in place, especially). I do wish him great success with his career, though, and continue to look for him in TV and film.
    I also enjoy Colin Salmon.

    Skin or hair color is NOT an issue for me. Definitely a redhead is okay. Keep Bond British and the externals can change for me, yes.

    There, that is my take on it.
  • edited March 2014 Posts: 1,984
    Ludovico wrote:
    But the line is not only drawn at skin colour. I am not certain how a redhead Bond would be accepted (a gingerhead Bond with freskles, forget about it), but there are other things people would not accept: a fat or chubby Bond, a Bond that is too short, etc. I brought forward some actors here at future Bonds and thought they'd do fine... until I saw their height on IMDB. Not short, but not tall enough. And I thought: no, that would not do. And I am talking here about actors I suggested.

    Isn't the real height of Daniel Craig a kind of secret ? :)

    As far as I'm concerned, at first I would have said that I'd found a Bond with a moustache even less likely than a black Bond ! And yet in The Rock, Sean Connery plays basically James Bond, with a moustache. And his character works somehow. So in fact, all the criteria you can imagine will disappear once you see the performance : it works or not as a whole.

    For instance, when you see him in Pacific Rim, you can imagine Idris Elba can play M, IMO.
  • Posts: 10,140
    If they ever let this happen? Who next? Superman? Batman? Sherlock? Some things are just a given in my honest opinion.
  • edited March 2014 Posts: 38
    THESE ARE ONLY MOVIES. WHO CARES.

    If Idris Elba can be a kickass Bond - give him the job. All I care about is that the film is good.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    Posts: 15,253
    ChickenStu wrote:
    To all those who are opposed to it I say this "THESE ARE ONLY MOVIES. WHO CARES?"

    Dedicated fans of the source material. And they aren't just movies. For many of us they are part of our lives.
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