*The biggest movie of this November has one of the silver screen’s truly legendary figures.
“Skyfall,” when it hits theaters on November 7, will be the 23rd entry into the James Bond series of films, the sturdy franchise based on Ian Fleming’s suave, witty and deadly British secret agent. Since “Dr. No” hit the theaters in 1962, the vodka martini-swilling 007 has been played by a secession of actors from the U.K. – some of them quite memorable (Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan) and others utterly forgettable (George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton).
Every Bond gave a different performance, one that seems to have fit the era when they were cast. Connery was at the peak of charming, cool 1960s UK culture. Roger Moore’s light-hearted take fit the 1970s. Dalton was a darker, more tortured soul for the 1980s. Brosnan’s Bond was technologically proficient and rather progressive 1990s man. The current actor in the role, Daniel Craig, has proven to be one of the more memorable ones – a one-man wrecking crew, driven by revenge and eager to kill – a take-no-crap hero in an age of b.s.
To that end, it might be time to bring some color to the man behind the dapper tuxedo and Walther PPK. Craig is signed on for a few more films (which should take another five or six years, at the least), and he should be able to ready to hang up the pistol with pride, turning it over to a brand-new Bond. Why not hire a Black British actor to take up 007’s mantle? It would certainly fit into the multiculturalism and globe-spanning themes of the 21st century, and prove to be an intriguing development into a film franchise that can occasionally get bogged down in its own tradition (check out the later Brosnan films, for example).
There’s certainly no shortage of talented black actors from across the pond. How about the great Idris Elba, a London native (shocking, right?) who was so good for so long as Stringer Bell on “The Wire.” Or the equally-great Chiwetel Ejiofor, another London native who right on the verge of breaking through –seen in “Inside Man,” 2012 and the amazing indie film Kinky Boots? Or the young actor David Oyelowo, another up-and-coming star who’s currently in Ava DyVernay’s “Middle of Nowhere” and will be in “Lincoln,” as well as the action film “Jack Reacher” and Lee Daniels’ new film “The Butler.” They all have the talent, looks and personality to play Bond just as well as any other actor out there. So, why not, 007 producers? It’s about time.
Hey, if a black man can be in the White House, a black actor can be Bond.