*Count Yaphet Kotto among the folks who thinks casting a black actor as James Bond is political correctness run amok.
The African American actor who played Dr. Kananga/Mr Big in “Live and Let Die,” believes “James Bond was established by Ian Fleming as a white character,” and should be “played by white actors,” reports The Wrap.
The discussion surrounding a hypothetical black James Bond followed rumors that British actor Idris Elba was once in the running to take over the role. Kotto, the first African-American to play a major villain in the franchise (Dr Kananga/Mr. Big in 1973’s “Live and Let Die”), has publicly declared it a bad idea.
“He cannot be black. Political correctness be damned,” he told The Big Issue.
“James Bond was established by Ian Fleming as a white character, played by white actors. Play 003 or 006, but you cannot be 007,” Kotto continued. “A lot of people say we should be allowed to play everything. Don’t be ridiculous.”
Kotto’s opinion on the matter comes after his “Live and Let Die” co-star, Roger Moore — who played Bond in seven films — said casting a black man to play the iconic spy was “an interesting idea, but unrealistic.”
“I think he should be ‘English-English,’” Moore said in an interview that landed him in hot water with the public. In an effort to distance himself from his comments, Moore tweeted: “An interview I gave to Paris Match implies I said something racist about Idris Elba. That is simply untrue. #Lost in translation.”
Kotto, now 75, seems to have no problem declaring a black Bond would be “silly.”
“If I say I want to play JFK I should be laughed out the room. Why should James Bond be black? It’s silly,” Kotto said. “I don’t think it’s right for black actors or writers to do roles that whites have made historically white heroic roles. These roles are not written for black men. Black men should stop trying to play white heroes. We have pens. Put a black man in a role that no one else has established.”
Daniel Craig will return as MI6’s top agent when director Sam Mendes’ “Spectre” hits theaters on Nov. 6.
Below, Kotto in “Live and Let Die”: