British film star Idris Elba has set the internet alight with rumour, following a string of cryptic tweets that hinted he was set to become the first non-white actor cast as James Bond.
Elba, star of Luther and Beasts of No Nation, tweeted the message my names Elba, Idris Elba early on Sunday morning, a nod to the spy characters famous introductory lines.
Five hours later, Elba followed this up with a tweeted image of rap group Public Enemy, alongside the caption “dont believe the HYPE”.
Elba has been linked to the franchise for almost a decade and, with incumbent Daniel Craig set for his final film in 2019 and a successor yet to be named, speculation has once again centred on the former star of The Wire.
The tweets follow reports earlier this month in the Daily Star that director Antoine Fuqua had privately spoken with long-time Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, who allegedly commented that “it is time” for a minority ethnic actor to take on the role. Fuqua has since denied the conversation took place.
Elba himself has previously dismissed such rumours, with the 45 year-old telling Good Morning America in 2016: “I think Im too old for that.”
Neither Elba nor Eon Productions have made any formal statements, and its unlikely that a name will be confirmed until after the 2019 release of the as-yet unnamed 25th instalment of the film series directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle.
Alongside Elba, favourites for the role include Tom Hardy, James Norton and Tom Hiddleston.