Idris Elba
Idris Elba Jordan Strauss - Invision - AP, File

Idris Elba lifts his silence on James Bond rumours

IDRIS Elba has kept a dignified silence amid rumours that he might be the next actor in line to play James Bond - and criticism from those who do not believe that 007 can be played by a black actor.

But now the 42-year-old British star, best known for Luther, playing Nelson Mandela and starring in HBO drama The Wire, has alluded to the row on Twitter.

This morning he posted a photograph of himself pulling a funny face with the words: "007 is supposed to be handsome? Glad you think I've got a shot!"

He is allegedly being considered for the seventh incarnation of Ian Fleming's iconic spy, according to information obtained following the Sony hack.

A leaked email from Amy Pascal, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment's motion pictures group, apparently states: "Idris should be the next Bond," according to The Daily Beast.

Pascal's comments were reportedly made in emails to Elizabeth Cantillon the former executive vice president of production for Columbia Pictures - which distributes the Bond franchise.

Elba has previously said he would definitely say yes if he were offered the role. During a Reddit AMA in September he responded to a fan's question of whether he'd be willing to take the role, writing: "Yes, if it was offered to me, absolutely."

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Daniel Craig, who is currently filming Sam Mendes' second Bond film, Spectre, has already signalled his desire to leave the franchise after four films.

"I've been trying to get out of this from the very moment I got into it. But they won't let me go, and I've agreed to do a couple more, but let's see how this one does, because business is business and if the shit goes down, I've got a contract that somebody will happily wipe their ass with," he told Rolling Stone two years ago.

Craig is signed on to do one more after Spectre, due for release on 6 November next year.

After the news that Elba was in the running for Bond hit the headlines his fans started a petition to pledge support for him.

But some commentators were not so approving. American conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh reportedly said Elba couldn't get the role because he is black.

"James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming," said Mr Limbaugh, according to Media Matters. "He was white and Scottish, period. That is who James Bond is."