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Patton Oswalt Just Ended The Debate Over Idris Elba As James Bond

Oswalt lays out the definitive guide for what it takes to play 007, and it's got nothing to do with race.

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Current James Bond author Anthony Horowitz pissed off a lot of people when he said in an interview with the Daily Mail that Idris Elba was "too street" to play James Bond.

Fred Prouser / Reuters

“For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond," said the author of the upcoming Bond book Trigger Mortis.

He's since apologized.

We asked actor, comedian, and pop culture expert Patton Oswalt about whether Elba should play Bond. His ensuing rant broke down exactly what an actor needs to be 007 (and it's got nothing to do with their skin). Here's his full response.

Danny Moloshok / Reuters

"What’s so sad about this controversy is it isn’t even that the guy (Anthony Horowitz) is being racist or politically incorrect. It’s that he doesn’t understand how James Bond works.

"The whole idea of James Bond is that they found this fucking bruiser, this psychopathic bruiser, they cleaned him up so that he could wear a tux and infiltrate but then still be a total killer."

"The whole tension inside of James Bond is this suave British guy that in reality is just a street-level ass-kicker. That's why Sean Connery is so amazing. He's this working-class Scottish weightlifter dude, then they put him in a tux and he looks great."


"So Idris Elba is a perfect James Bond. Not because he’s white or black or hot, it’s because he looks like a suave, high-class, one-percent dude but also he has all this killer training."


"There’s this great fan theory that 007 James Bond is just a franchise — they give that code name and number to whoever their top agent is.

"Weirdly enough an actor like Chiwetel Ejiofor would be a terrible James Bond because he is super suave but you can’t imagine him, you know, killing someone with his bare hands.

"And then someone like Antonio Banderas would be amazing because he is both an ass-kicker and also can be really suave."