Corey Charlton, Daily Mail, April 9, 2015
The very first black James Bond villain, Yaphet Kotto, has said the legendary secret agent role should only ever be portrayed by a white actor and ‘political correctness be damned’.
Kotto, who starred as Dr Kananga in the 1973 Bond installment Live And Let Die, said the role was created by Ian Fleming for a white actor and should be portrayed on the big screen as such.
His comments come in response to months of speculation that black British actor Idris Elba is in the running to be named as Daniel Craig’s successor.
In an interview with Big Issue, Kotto said: ‘Political correctness be damned, we have to stay with what is literally correct.’
He said: ‘He was established as a white character, played by white actors. I don’t think it’s right for black actors or writers to do roles that whites have made historically white roles.’
Kotto argued that a black man could play 003 or 006, but could not be 007, and suggested new characters should be written for black heroes.
Last month veteran Bond actor Roger Moore was widely condemned for his claim that Elba, 42, could not be the next James Bond because he was not ‘English English’ enough.
Following the publication of the interview, Sir Roger faced strong criticism on Twitter over the statement.
He made the ‘English-English’ comments, even though former Bonds Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were Scottish, Welsh and Irish.
After being accused of ‘racism’, he claimed his comments were lost in translation during the interview with a French magazine.
Elba is seen as the leading contender to play Bond once Daniel Craig holsters his Walther PPK for the last time.
He was born in Hackney, raised in East Ham, schooled in Canning Town, started work in Dagenham and he supports Arsenal.
However, with speculation rampant he is being lined up to replace Craig, Elba himself has said he has ruled out taking the role.
Today The Sun reported him as saying: ‘It’s a rumour that’s really started to eat itself. If there was a chance of me getting Bond, it’s gone.’
He also responded to claims he was not ‘English’ enough for the role, stating he was ‘born and raised’ in England.
Following Live and Let Die, Kotto went on to take central roles in several successful Hollywood films, including Alien and Midnight Run.