Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Actor Idris Elba says he will stick to being tormented detective John Luther – not James Bond.
Addressing the world government summit in Dubai on Tuesday, Elba brought up the persistent discussions about his takeover as Ian Fleming’s famous British spy. These had become louder following Daniel Craig’s passing as Bond in the 25th film in the franchise, titled No Time to Die.
When asked about his upcoming film, based on the British series Luther, Elba clearly backed down from the role of 007.
“It’s very dark,” Elba said of the series. “We’ve been working on the television series for about 10 years, so bringing it to the big screen is our natural ambition, so here we are with the first film.”
He added, “You know, a lot of people talk about another character that starts with ‘J’ and ends with ‘B’, but I’m not going to be that guy. I will be John Luther. It’s me.”
Luther: The Fallen Sun is slated to hit theaters February 24 and will begin streaming on Netflix March 10. Also starring Andy Serkis and other actors from the TV series.
Elba, 50, is known for a variety of television and film roles, from Stringer Bell on the American television series The Wire to the recent film Beast.
On stage, Elba talked about an upcoming film he’s working on with American actor and wrestler John Cena called The Heads of State.
“He plays the American president. I’m playing the British Prime Minister,” said Elba. “We’re in a caper. I’m really looking forward to that, because leadership comes in many different forms.”
In recent weeks, Elba has appeared at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he and his wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba received an award for their work on food security in Africa. Elba has also worked as an anti-crime ambassador with his Don’t Stitch Your Future initiative in the UK, where he grew up in east London.
During his presentation, Elba called on nations to invest more in the creative industries, saying it can be an economic engine that provides jobs for their youth. In particular, he said creative jobs could help countries in Africa a lot.
“I believe that Africa, particularly as a continent, needs to preserve a narrative and change a narrative,” he said.
In terms of storytelling, Elba also praised Dubai for its “incredible tourism history” that it has developed over the past few decades. The city-state is experiencing a new real estate boom, fueled in part by Russian money amid Moscow’s war with Ukraine.
“I think Dubai should win an Oscar because the (place) is amazing,” Elba said to applause. “It’s very, very good work and other countries should take note of that.”
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.