Idris Elba for Smartwater

Idris Elba has long been a fan-favorite pick to play the next James Bond, whenever Daniel Craig decides to hand over the mantle. But one of the more interesting reveals from the Sony hack was that fans weren’t alone in their support of Elba. Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal reportedly wanted Elba for Bond as well.

Now the actor has weighed in with his two cents on the matter. Hit the jump to see the Idris Elba Bond rumors response.

Pascal’s comments confirmed what had long been rumored. In 2012, Skyfall star Naomie Harris revealed to press that Elba (with whom she starred in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) had actually spoken with a Bond producer. “I did a film with Idris and he said that he met Barbara Broccoli and that it does seem like there is a possibility in the future that there could very well be a black James Bond,” she said at the time.

For his part, Elba has maintained that he’d “definitely consider” James Bond if an offer came his way. “Yes, if it was offered to me, absolutely,” he told Reddit this fall when asked if he’d like to play 007 someday. However, as of last year, he sounded more enthusiastic than optimistic.

I say it all the time, but if it was to ever happen and if I was ever to get offered that role, that would be the will of a nation. That would be like, “Wow, human beings are really powerful. They really made that happen, because Barbara Broccoli certainly didn’t”… it would be the will of a nation because everyone has been saying that to me.

If Elba won the part, he’d be the first black actor to James Bond, though he’s stressed that he wouldn’t want that to be the defining characteristic of his tenure. “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,” he told NPR in 2011. Nevertheless, there’s bound to be a few people who can’t get past his skin color including conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, who got all pissy at the thought of Elba possibly playing Bond.

Of course, even Pascal’s apparent support isn’t a guarantee that we’ll ever actually get Elba as Bond. Craig is expected back for Bond 25 (the as-yet-untitled sequel to next year’s Spectre) but as of now it’s unclear what the studio has planned for the franchise beyond that. Meanwhile, Elba could simply age out of the role before he gets the chance to try it on. At 42, he’s just 4 years younger than the current Bond.

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