LOS ANGELES: Steven Spielberg has thrown his substantial Hollywood weight behind British actor Idris Elba in the race to be the next James Bond.
It remains to be seen whether Daniel Craig will return for another big screen outing as the iconic spy but after saying he would “rather slash his wrists” than return to the world of fast cars and shaken not stirred martinis upon wrapping last film Spectre, it looks unlikely.
Regardless, speculation is already rife as to who could take his place as 007, with Tom Hiddleston, Aidan Turner, James Norton and Damian Lewis among other big names to be thrown into the hat whether they actually want the coveted part or not.
Elba has remained a strong bet among fans despite believing he is “too old” at 43 and now, legendary director Spielberg has branded him his “first choice”.
“I am a huge Bond fan,” he said. “I would love to see a Bond of colour. That would be my first choice. I think Idris would be my first choice of Bond if Daniel decides not to come back.”
MGM Studios are not planning a new Bond release until 2018 to allow bosses plenty of time to find the perfect lead actor.
Sam Mendes has already confirmed that he will not be returning as director, but don’t expect Spielberg to take up the chair anytime soon.
The 69-year-old recently revealed that he was turned down twice (yes, even after big hits Jaws and Close Encounters) because franchise boss Albert Cubby Broccoli “didn’t think he was right for the part”.
“Now they cannot afford me, so (Broccoli’s daughter and new Bond boss) Barbara, forget it,” he said.