We’re closer than ever to having a black James Bond! Esquire has recently reported that the James Bond film producers are circling around Idris Elba as the next actor to take on the 007 mantle. But unfortunately, the news might be premature. A representative for Antonie Fuqua, who was reported as having discussed Elba’s future as Bond, told The Hollywood Reporter that Fuqua “never had a conversation with Barbara about the francise or about any casting. It’s all made up stuff. Not sure it got started.” A source from Elba’s camp also told The Hollywood Reporter that no onen from Team Elba was aware of such a conversation or offers.
Maybe all of this talk of Elba will spur the Bond producers to actually cast Elba at some point. But what if the first groundbreaking Bond isn’t Elba, but a black woman? For a while now, the statement “Trust Black Women” has become a meme-like talking point on social media, and throughout history, black women have been seen as pillars of strength. But instead of us being stereotyped as the mules of the world, how about we get the chance to flex that muscle in a hardcore, cool role like Bond, in which we get to beat up the bad guys and get a hot Bond Guy on the side?
We’re all for a black woman portraying the classic character, and here’s who we’d love to see get the chance to bring a female perspective to Bond.
When it comes to playing Bond, Naomie Harris already has a foot in the door. In the new James Bond films, Harris plays Moneypenny, one of Bond’s comrades-in-arms and confidants. In the early films, Moneypenny was strictly the secretary to M, Bond’s higher-up. But in Skyfall, the character is transformed into an agent in her own right, someone who was also out in the field serving Her Majesty before retiring for secretarial work.
Skyfall is one of my favorite James Bond films, and after watching the movie, I hoped the franchise would pivot and reintroduce Moneypenny back into the field at some point in the future, since the opening scenes of Skyfall featuring a kick-butt Moneypenny could have been its own film. As Moneypenny, Harris portrayed the confidence of a classic agent in Her Majesty’s Service, but also conveyed the humanity of being in a harsh situation dealing with impossible decisions. Through it all, she kept her cool, just like Bond himself would. She’s a clear contender for the Bond mantle, so hopefully the franchise will take her from behind the her secretary’s desk soon.
There are not many actresses as commanding on screen as Angela Bassett. Many fans who still feel wronged by Halle Berry’s portrayal of Storm in the X-Men series still hold Bassett as their choice to play the weather goddess and with good reason. She has a quiet, yet resolved strength that cuts through a scene, and like a proper Bond-esque agent, her beauty is only matched by her aura of mystery. Bassett is at her most Bond-like in Mission Impossible: Fallout, in she plays Erika Sloane, the CIA director who oversees Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) latest mission. Sloane is all about making power moves, one of them being sending her watchdog August Walker (Henry Cavill) to make sure Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) doesn’t screw up the mission.
If Fallout was centered around Sloane, it’d already be a perfect Bond film, complete with Cavill in the traditional “Bond Girl” role. With the amount of memes there were linking Sloane and Walker together as friends-with-benefits, it’s not like audience members would need tons of convincing to watch Sloane (with boy toy Cavill) in action.
Gabrielle Union has proven she can kick butt and take names in Breaking In, in which she fights off home invaders to save her family. But Union has been a butt-kicker long before this film; as a role model, Union has begun using the tragedies she’s faced in her life as a way to teach others about the power they have within themselves to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. She has also become a champion of women’s rights and an outspoken voice for black women who feel unheard. For instance, early in the Me Too movement, Union, a sexual assault victim herself, critiqued the movement for centering itself around the stories of white women.
Union has more than enough power to draw from in order to take on the role of a female Bond. She’s showcased that strength throughout her life, and it’d only be fitting for her to use that power in a way that honors her own triumphs while uplifting black women in the process.
Of course, Tika Sumpter’s got the alluring beauty necessary to pull off playing an agent of mystery. And, if her hypothetical Bond film was set in the 1960s like the original, she can definitely pull off that classic early 1960s style as evidenced by this still from Sparkle. But she’s also got the ability to do the double-cross with ease. Her character on Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots, Sumpter plays Candace Young, who manipulates, back-stabs, and blackmails to get what she wants out of life. To do all of that, you have to have developed some kind of skill at subterfuge, a skill that also comes in handy as a spy.
Even in Sparkle, Sumpter has the makings of a agent trained in combat. In the film, Sumpter’s character Dee saves her sister Sparkle from Mike Epps’ abusive character Satin Struthers by hitting him on the head with a fire iron. The move was done in self-defense, but in a sly way, the scene also played on Dee’s smarts and resourcefulness as a burgeoning doctor with dreams of attending medical school. Sumpter’s characters have elements for making a great agent; all Hollywood has to do is meld everything together into one great film.
Thandie Newton has become a bit of an action star as of late. The actress made an appearance in the Star Wars anthology film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, but her time in the film was criminally brief. But even in her 15 minutes of intergalactic fame, she managed to prove her mettle as a criminal outlaw who can hang tough.
Her biggest flex of her action muscle is in HBO’s Westworld, in which she plays Maeve, one of the robotic hosts of the Westworld park who achieve consciousness. She sets out on a journey to save her daughter, and she won’t let anyone get in her way. Maeve has done her share of damage along her journey, including threatening humans and killing robots with her mind. She also has her own love interest, robotic outlaw Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro), and like Bond’s love interests, he knows when his usefulness has washed up. In fact, he sacrifices himself multiple times for her without hesitation.
There is a reason why Westworld fans are always excited to see Newton come on screen, so it shouldn’t be lost on Hollywood that fans would be just as excited to see Newton utilizing the same chops she exhibits as Maeve while playing an agent in her own standalone movie.