As a strapping, dapper actor with an English accent, Idris Elba is an obvious choice to play James Bond. But the actor tells NPR that talk of him potentially landing the part is nothing more than gossip.
"It's a rumor," he said on "Morning Edition." "It's a very old rumor. My dad and I were talking about this the other day. I would do it, but I don't want to be called the first black James Bond. Do you understand what I 'm saying? Sean Connery wasn't the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn't the blue-eyed James Bond. So if I played him, I don't want to be called the black James Bond."
As Elba goes on to explain, he didn't come to the States "to play black roles. I just came to play roles."
For example, his character on "The Wire," Stringer Bell, "was a smart drug dealer, in my opinion. He's black, but that's not the point. The point is, this is a man caught between two worlds. That complex sort of balance that he's in is what made the drama."
The same can be said of detective John Luther, the character he plays on BBC America's "Luther," which launches its second season tonight. "Luther has this capability to think how his perpetrators are thinking, and what they may or may not do next. And I think Luther lives quite close to rage himself," the actor says of his character, which earned him an Emmy nod.
"The difference between someone with a conscience and someone without is that one person will say, 'You know what? No, I'm not going to go over to that person and smash them in the face.' But the other person is quite close to that decision without any remorse and just will do it. And I think Luther is close to that mark all the time," he explains.
Both of those roles are emblematic of the work Elba longs for, with Nelson Mandela being another multifaceted figure he's eager to portray.
But, Elba continues, "if Sony decided to call me and said hey, we wanted to do [James Bond], I'd definitely consider it."