Anthony Horowitz—the man commissioned by Ian Fleming’s estate to write the latest James Bond novel—has a lot of opinions. Some of those opinions involve actor Idris Elba, a fan-favorite choice to play the secret agent on film.
“For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part… I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah,” Horowitz told the Daily Mail in an interview published Sunday. The author insisted that it’s “not a color issue,” a phrase that’s seemingly code for “Please pretend that what I am saying is not racist.”
Idris Elba, you see, is black. To date, every actor who’s portrayed James Bond—an alcoholic murderer who wore yellowface in You Only Live Twice, dressed as a clown in Octopussy, and glued on a fake third nipple in The Man With the Golden Gun (no, seriously)—has been white.
Horowitz apologized for his remarks in a statement posted on Twitter today, although we can’t imagine why he wouldn’t want to stand by them. After all, it’s a matter of public record that Idris Elba is the least suave performer on the planet. Let’s take a stroll through a few examples of the egregious miscasting that has characterized his career.
DCI John Luther in Luther
Elba’s tweed-clad, tortured detective chief inspector is in no way smoldering or wildly charismatic, which is precisely why I have not been staring at this GIF for the last 15 minutes.
Stacker Pentecost in Pacific Rim
You know what I’d call Idris Elba? “Evaus.” See, that’s “suave” backwards. Because there’s no suave whatsoever happening here. None at all. Nope.
Heimdall in Thor
The all-seeing guardian of the rainbow bridge Bifröst is clearly “too street,” or too whatever-Asgard’s-Norse-mythological-version-of-a-street-is.
Charles Miner on The Office
The panty-dropping magic that Elba’s no-nonsense executive unintentionally worked on the women of The Office was obviously intended as irony. In reality, no panties have ever dropped around Idris Elba, the antithesis of suave. In fact, in his presence, panties develop an anti-gravitational property that science has yet to explain.
Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Elba’s portrayal of the South African president garnered him a nomination for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in Drama Who, To Be Honest, Seemed “Too Street” But We’ll Give Him a Pass This One Time.
Stringer Bell on The Wire
Elba co-starred on the acclaimed HBO series as Stringer Bell, the ruthless, brilliant business mind behind Avon Barksdale’s drug-trafficking operation. Fun fact: Every single review of The Wire ever written has described the actor’s complex antihero as, verbatim, “too rough” and “too street.” Go figure!
We don’t know much about Elba’s role in Pixar’s upcoming sequel to Finding Nemo, but one can only imagine he will be voicing a rough fish from the underwater streets.