Take it from the man himself: It’s just not happening. Elba, Idris Elba, will not be the next actor to introduce himself with that famous construction as Ian Fleming’s spy with a license to kill. The oddsmakers have spoken, tipping Damian Lewis to take over from Daniel Craig following this year’s Spectre. True, the franchise’s fans have not been shy about their desire to see the producers slide the Aston Martin keys across the bar to Elba, the scrappy kid from working-class Hackney. But in the actor’s estimation, this very attention has all but killed his chances to land the role. So, in an effort to pull victory from the jaws of defeat, let’s all just shut up about it, foil the search engines, and not even mention the famous spy he’s never in a million years going to play, OK? It should be enough to celebrate the work of an impressively talented 43-year-old actor with the range to go from playing The Wire’s drug kingpin Stringer Bell to Nelson Mandela, and soon the villain of the Star Trek reboot.
Next month, Elba plays the frighteningly charismatic commandant of an African child army in Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, a performance sure to land him on a red carpet or two. And who knows? Given his recent auto-racing exploits and his prowess as a DJ, maybe the sight of the actor strutting before the global entertainment media in a designer tux will land him the role after all. Oddsmakers have been wrong before.
Photos by Robbie Fimmano for Maxim