Former James Bond actor Roger Moore found himself backpedalling from comments in which he balked at the notion of Idris Elba portraying the superspy, according to the New York Daily News.
The 87-year-old actor, who portrayed Bond in seven films, reportedly made the comments during a recent Paris Match interview, according to the news outlet. Elba’s fan were particularly outraged by Moore’s comment that Elba was not “English-English,” the report notes.
“A few years ago, I said that Cuba Gooding Jr. would make an excellent Bond, but it was a joke!” Moore told the Paris Review when asked his thoughts about Elba potentially becoming the first black actor to play Bond, the report says. “Although James may have been played by a Scot, a Welshman and an Irishman, I think he should be ‘English-English’. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting idea, but unrealistic.”
Twitter responded quickly: “So Idris Elba shouldn’t be the next James Bond because he’s not English English? I’ve never heard such [nonsense] #rogermoore #racism,” a woman tweeted.
The backlash prompted Moore to apologize, saying, “An interview I gave to Paris Match implies I said something racist about Idris Elba,” he tweeted Saturday. “That is simply untrue. #Lost in translation."
For his part, Elba, who was born in London to African parents, is ready to suit up for the role. When the idea surfaced late last year, he said he’d take the role if offered.
Read more at the New York Daily News.