Much internet fervor (for better and racist) has been born from various rumors and recommendations that Luther star/steamy sex god Idris Elba could be the next James Bond. It’s such a hot topic that fellow British black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor was asked if maybe he’d like to take a turn as 007.
Variety reports the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave star recused himself of the possible role, and instead suggested one his co-stars from The Martian, saying:
“I want Michael Pena to be James Bond. That’s what I want.”
Now don’t get us wrong. We dig Pena. I personally count him as just about the only thing that made Ant-Man worth watching. The dude is affable as all get out, has a great sense of comedic timing, and managed his bit of action with aplomb. Better still, in The Martian, he does all that plus adds a bit of pathos an ever-upbeat astronaut who’s missing out on his baby’s early years. And let us never forget how gritty and damn good he does drama in End of Watch.
Pena’s a great actor who deserves more attention and meatier roles. So in that way, we get you, Chiwetel. But would he be a believable Bond?
My first thought is Bond movies would be a regrettable waste of Pena’s comedic talents, right when the world is finally recognizing them. But I’ll give him this, dude knows how to pull of Bond’s suit, no-smile combo.
But let’s get real. Pena as Bond? Never going to happen. The guy was born in Chicago. There’s no way The Colonies will be allowed to take 007 away from The Crown.
What’s likely is that the reporter was digging for a quote about diversity via the Bond question, and Ejiofor obliged with “I think that there are the same challenges for diversity existing everywhere. And it’s something that we’re going to struggle with until we figure it out, we haven’t yet, but we’re getting there.”
Ejiofor didn’t want the hassle of Bond rumors, so he squashed his own. Then he gamely threw out a name of another non-white actor. One he worked with recently. One he presumably admires. One who maybe would be happy with the attention such speculation can bring. Hopefully Pena is all of the above, because he’s about to get asked about this for at least the next six months.