Idris Elba is often mentioned as an ideal candidate to succeed Daniel Craig as James Bond, but the latest author of the spy franchise says the black actor may be "too street" to pull off 007's suave style.
In an interview with British tabloid the Daily Mail promoting the latest Bond thriller, "Trigger Mortis," author Anthony Horowitz said he thought of Elba as a "terrific actor," but he had other black actors in mind who would better fit the bill.
"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. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah," Horowitz told the Daily Mail.
The British actor first made his name in American markets as the book-smart lieutenant of a Baltimore drug kingpin in the HBO series "The Wire," and has since moved on to blockbuster films, playing Heimdall in the "Avengers" franchise and civil rights icon Nelson Mandela in "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."
Rumors that Elba could be tapped as the first black man to take his martinis shaken, not stirred, gained strength last year after leaked emails exposed Sony Pictures Entertainment executives musing that he could be fit to step into Bond's shoes. (Elba has since said he's not interested in the gig.)
In a statement posted on Twitter, Horowitz said he was "mortified" to have caused offense.
"I'm really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn't my intention," Horowitz said. "Clumsily, I chose the word 'street' as Elba's gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offence."
"Trigger Mortis," set in 1957 after the events detailed in the the novel "Goldfinger," is being released Sept. 8.