Idris Elba: ‘Always smile. I learned that from the street’

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ACTOR IDRIS Elba has hit back at James Bond author Anthony Horowitz who said the Hollywood actor was ‘too street’ to play the 007 spy.

Horowitz’s comments sparked worldwide outrage and claims of racism.

But responding as only a gentleman would, 42-year-old Elba wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of the news report: “Always Keep Smiling!! It takes no energy and never hurts! Learned that from the Street!! #septemberstillloveyou.”

His post came after Horowitz issued an apology claiming he had “clumsily” used the wrong word to describe the actor.

He said: “I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn’t my intention.

“I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. 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? 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.”

London born Elba, who found fame in American drama series The Wire, has risen to prominence as a role-defying performer, including in 2010 when he earned the role as Norse deity Heimdall in the Marvel heroic film Thor.

The role, which is typically reserved for a white actor, sparked a race debate.

Elba responded at the time: “There has been a big debate about it: can a black man play a Nordic character?” he told TV Times. “Hang about, Thor’s mythical, right? Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers. That’s OK, but the colour of my skin is wrong?

“I was cast in Thor and I’m cast as a Nordic god,” he said. “If you know anything about the Nords, they don’t look like me but there you go. I think that’s a sign of the times for the future. I think we will see multi-level casting. I think we will see that, and I think that’s good.”

Speculation has been rife about who will take over the role when Daniel Craig inevitably passes on the torch and Elba has been one of the most popular contenders for the position. Other names being circulated include Tom Hardy and X-Men star Hugh Jackman.

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