Entertainment

Idris Elba: Hunchback role could cost me James Bond

The Luther star has joked that playing Quasimodo could scupper his chances of landing 007.

Idris Elba has joked that playing the Hunchback of Notre Dame will ruin his chances of landing the role of James Bond.

The Luther star will take on the part of Quasimodo in a modern retelling of the Gothic romance, based on the 1831 novel by Victor Hugo.

Elba will also direct and produce the unnamed project for Netflix, and produce its original music.

He told the Press Association: “Hunchback of Notre Dame is what I am doing next. It’s very, very different.

“I’m going to say a reinvention of the story, so I am excited about that.”

Addressing headlines that suggested his good looks make him a surprising choice to play Quasimodo, Elba said: “I didn’t really think [about that].”

“It scuppers my James Bond chances then I guess,” he joked.

“I just think, for me, I’m directing a legendary story, I’m reinventing it, and it’s a musical. It’s one of my favourites.”

Elba has been frequently touted as a possible successor to Daniel Craig as 007 but asked if he ever considers how his role choices affect his chances of landing the gig, he said: “No of course not, no.

“I chose to make Q, Quasimodo, and I’m really excited for it.”

Before he begins filming that he will release his directorial debut Yardie, which received its UK premiere at Sundance London earlier this year.

The film, which is an adaptation of Victor Headley’s novel, stars Aml Ameen, Stephen Graham and Mark Rhino Smith.

Elba said: “It’s quite nerve-racking because you’ve made this baby and you’re suddenly asking everyone, ‘Is my baby pretty or not?’

“That’s what you’re literally doing and they’re like ‘Hmm, it’s alright’.

“[But you think]’I’ve just spend nine months making this!!’

“But it’s a necessary evil in a sense that festivals are an opportunity for the public to see films for the first time.”

He added: “I think every actor wants to become a director at some point – some don’t, some just want to be movie stars and such, but I’ve always liked the idea of stepping in the big chair.

“I’ve always wanted to get there and I’m really thankful that I got to do it.”

Elba attributes much of his success to his own attitude to ambition, advising: “Think big, but don’t be disappointed in the inevitability of not getting as big as you can get. But dream big.

“It’s like if you want to walk forward, don’t walk with your head down – if you want to walk forward, you walk with your eyes up. It is partly woven into who I am as a person. My mates call me ‘Moprah’ – male Oprah.

“They’re like ‘Dude, will you just shut up? Just leave me alone’ but for me, I wasn’t born like this.

“I grew up one day thinking ‘I wouldn’t mind doing that’ and to sustain that ambition, if you fail -I failed millions of times with millions of ideas – you can’t let it knock you back. You’ve got to keep moving forward.”

Yardie is released in UK cinemas on August 31. Elba is a brand ambassador for the multivitamin drink Purdeys.

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