The Courier-Mail

Shaken by racism stir over Bond

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LONDON: The author of a new James Bond novel has been forced to apologise after sparking a race row by saying black actor Idris Elba was “too street” to play the secret agent.

Anthony Horowitz, whose first Bond novel Trigger Mortis is published this month, added that the Pacific Rim star was not “suave” enough for the iconic role.

Elba (pictured) was first tipped to play the secret agent in December last year, a casting choice proposed by then-Sony chief Amy Pascal in a leaked email.

“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 said.

He said while the British star was a “terrific actor”, he could “think of other black actors who would do it better”, such as Hustle’s Adrian Lester. This sparked outrage, with one Twitter user calling the comments “cowardly racist”.

Horowitz has since said sorry for his comments, saying in a statement that his use of “street” to describe Elba was “clumsy”. He said he was thinking of detective John Luther, whom Elba played in Luther, when he used the word.

“I am mortified to have caused offence,” he said.

“In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice, but I’m a writer, not a casting director, so what do I know?”

Horowitz also revealed that he disliked Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig.

“Bond is weak in it. He has doubts. That’s not Bond,” he said, adding that in it the villain effectivel­y won by killing spy chief M.

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