David Oyelowo Will Be the First Black James Bond...Kind Of

David Oyelowo Will Be the First Black James Bond...Kind Of

Aug 13, 2015


David Oyelowo, acclaimed for his stirring performance as Dr. Martin Luther King in last year's Selma, will be the first black actor to portray James Bond. He has accepted an invitation from the estate of writer Ian Fleming, the creator of the British secret agent, to voice Bond and other characters in an audiobook recording of Trigger Mortis, a new novel by Anthony Horowitz.

According to an interview with The Guardian, Oyelowo dealt with "very real resistance" more than 10 years ago when he played Henry VI in a stage production for the Royal Shakespeare Company, "which made him the first black actor to play an English king in a major Shakespeare production." He received a flood of hate mail in protest; he notes: "You’d hope that wouldn’t be the case now.”

The idea of a black actor playing the legendary 007 has sparked controversy in the past. See, for example, the comments section in response to our article on the possibility of Idris Elba taking over the role from Daniel Craig nearly three years ago. Since then, Elba has further expanded his range, starring in Pacific Rim and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, as well as appearing in Thor: The Dark World, The Gunman, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, among others, so there should be no doubt about his qualifications as a heroic, dramatic actor.

As to the possibility of Elba playing James Bond in the future, Oyelowo stated: "A titan on screen, he has all the qualities that you’d want in a James Bond. Because films and TV affect culture, a black Bond would be a cultural event ... a statement ... beyond just entertainment.”

Trigger Mortis will be published on September 8, which is also when the audiobook version will be available. As a reminder of Oyelowo's talent, close your eyes and listen to this clip from Selma.


And, while we're thinking of Bond, here's a new video on the women who will be a highlight of the next spy adventure, Spectre, hitting theaters on November 6. 

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