The James Bond film franchise’s main producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, have responded to Idris Elba’s recent statement that he can’t imagine himself portraying the iconic character. The producing duo stated during a recent interview with Variety that they understand that the Emmy Award-nominated actor is hesitant about committing to the series for many years.
Elba has long been been rumored to be a possible candidate to take on the role of the British Secret Service agent. Broccoli and Wilson are looking for a new actor to play Bond, after the franchise’s most recent lead, Daniel Craig, stepped down from the series after the release of last year’s installment, No Time to Die.
However, in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Elba expressed that it’s unlikely he’ll take on the role. “When I look in the mirror, I don’t see James Bond,” he admitted.
Broccoli and Wilson explained during their interview why they understand Elba’s hesitation to take over the role, as they wish to find an actor who can play Bond in multiple movies. They also pointed out that the actor is only four years younger than Craig.
“The thing is, it’s going to be a couple of years off,” Broccoli said during the interview. “And when we cast Bond, it’s a 10-, 12-year commitment. So he’s probably thinking, ‘Do I really want that thing [now]?’ Not everybody wants to do that. It was hard enough getting [Daniel Craig to do it].” Wilson added, “And he was in his…30s at the time!”
Broccoli also noted that the overall pool of candidates to take on the role is limited, as actors are reluctant to commit to a part, even one as high profile as bond, for at least a decade. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh yeah, it’d be fun to do one,'” she said. “Well. That ain’t gonna work.”
She also emphasized that producers have to figure out the nature of the forthcoming Bond movie before securing its lead. “[I]t’s not just about casting an actor for a film,” she noted. “It’s about a reinvention, and…What do we want to do with the character? And then, once we figure that out, who’s the right person for that particular reinvention?”
The producers, who are preparing for next month’s 60th anniversary of the Bond franchise, added that as of now, they’re still in the early stages of their search in casting the next 007. Broccoli noted that for whoever they cast in the role, “it’s a big commitment. It’s not just showing up for a couple of months of filming.”
Broccoli and Wilson are half siblings, and their mother, Dana Natol, was married to Broccoli’s father, Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, Bond’s co-founding producer. The siblings served as the caretakers of the Bond series since GoldenEye was released in 1995, which starred Pierce Brosnan as the spy. They went on to work with the actor on three more Bond films, including Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.
The duo then went on to cast Craig to replace Brosnan in 2006’s Casino Royale. The then worked with him on the franchise in four more movies, including Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre and most recently on last year’s No Time to Die.
The producers are also working on a television show based on the Bond franchise. Amazon’s Prime Video greenlit a narrative television series earlier this year that’s based on the iconic character. The streamer has also greenlit an adventure reality show, titled 007’s Road to a Million, a Bond-style spin on a race around the world.
“People have always come to us about doing a TV show, [saying,] ‘Oh, you should do a Bond challenge,’ but we always stayed away from it because we didn’t want to put people in danger and have them do dangerous things, because it’s not for members of the public — it’s for trained professionals,” Broccoli divulged.
Broccoli and Wilson are producing the eight-part series alongside 72 Films and MGM Studios. The show is now in production and “it’s looking really great,” Broccoli added. “Audiences will get a big kick out of it, and that’s why we agreed to do it.”