How English is "English enough" to play 007?
According to Sir Roger Moore, English born and bred actor Idris Elba isn't sufficiently "English-English" to be James Bond.
In an interview with Paris Match magazine, a French news outlet, Moore -- who played Bond in seven movies between 1973 and 1985 -- said it was "unrealistic" for The Wire and Luther star Idris Elba to take over the role.
The Daily Mail translated some of his remarks:
"A few years ago, I said that Cuba Gooding Jr. would make an excellent Bond, but it was a joke! … Although James may have been played by a Scot, a Welshman and an Irishman, I think he should be 'English-English,"" Moore was reported as saying in response to a question about Elba becoming Bond.
The Scot, Welshman, and Irishman he's referring to are Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan, respectively.
English actor Daniel Craig has played the iconic spy in the most recent films. The new trailer for the next movie, Spectre, was released this week.
Moore -- like Elba -- was born in London.
After the Daily Mail reported on the interview, Moore took to Twitter to claim his remarks were mischaracterized.
"An interview I gave to Paris Match implies I said something racist about Idris Elba. That is simply untrue. #Lost in translation," he wrote.
An interview I gave to Paris Match implies I said something racist about Idris Elba. That is simply untrue. #Lost in translation.— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) March 28, 2015
Then, in the grand tradition of Twitter self-defense, he retweeted a bunch of things his followers said about how not-racist he is.
"*Ahem* Sir. Roger starred in Live And Let Die. Almost the whole cast are black. Lying journos!" read one message Moore retweeted.
Idris Elba has been coming up in conversations about the next Bond for the past few years. Pierce Brosnan said in an interview with Radio Times that Elba would be a great replacement once Craig decides to end his 007 career. When the hacked Sony emails were revealed, one from now-former studio head Amy Pascal said, "Idris should be the next Bond."
Conversely, Rush Limbaugh said Elba was a bad choice because Bond should be "white and Scottish."
For his part, 42-year-old Elba has said he would "absolutely" take the role of Bond if it was offered to him. He jokingly tweeted a photo of himself and said, "Isn't 007 supposed to be handsome? Glad you think I've got a shot!" in December 2014.
Isn't 007 supposed to handsome? Glad you think I've got a shot! Happy New year people. pic.twitter.com/3g9lAl2Uo3— Idris Elba (@idriselba) December 27, 2014
It's not Elba's first time poking fun at himself -- check out what he said about the mysterious "bulge" photo from his last movie set.