Rumors are a funny thing.
Overnight, a new fervor around Idris Elba’s taking over the James Bond role lit up when British tabloid The Daily Star reported on an alleged conversation between The Equalizer 2 director Antoine Fuqua and Bond producer Barbara Broccoli. This topic: Elba becoming Agent 007. The story was picked up by Esquire, who infamously ran the “Daniel Craig Done With Bond” piece in the run-up to Spectre‘s release. Thanks to the legitimacy of the Esquire link, CNN’s Jack Tapper and plenty of other outlets ran with the story.
To be honest, Elba would be a great Bond and his name has been linked to the part ever since the 2015 Sony Pictures email leak, in which then-studio chief Amy Pascal offered him as her pick.
But according to The Los Angeles Times, the conversation between Broccoli and Fuqua never took place. Their source: Fuqua’s publicist, who told the paper, “Barbara and Antoine never spoke about this or anything else related to the franchise.” The paper also attempted to contact EON Productions, the company behind the production of the Bond films, and Danjaq, the holding company dedicated to utilize the Ian Fleming character, but neither returned their calls.
The key action here, though, is that the LA Times tried calling reps before assuming Esquire had hit paydirt.
When we tracked the various stories back to the Daily Star article, the original reporting left something to be desired. Couched within Fuqua’s appearance to promote the new SoundFi app, the Daily Star failed to recount why Fuqua was talking about a private discussion regard the Bond series in the first place. Did they ask a question about it during a press line or did he just magically volunteer this information? It left us doubting the accuracy of the piece.
As it happens, there is a long and documented history of just how EON courts and casts 007. Their preference is to hold onto the current Bond until he unequivocally refuses to come back. Granted, that wasn’t quite the case with two-time star Timothy Dalton or one-movie only Bond George Lazenby, but it is generally the case; even if the movies are a draining experiences, like they are for the 50-year-old Craig. All attempts will be made to retain him before they seek out a new secret agent.
By that point, Elba, who has never been as enthusiastic about the part as his fans are, will be almost as old as Craig is now. It suggests EON will look for a younger performer who will be up to the physical strain of leading the production for at least three films. Though, it seems, EON prefers Bond to have one face for five films.
In the meantime, Craig remains James Bond in the 25th EON-produced film, which is scheduled for release on November 8th, 2019.