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Ralph Fiennes under fire for comments on black Bond

BLACK BOND DEBATE: Ralph Fiennes has said he doesn't think the role should be played by a black or female actor

RALPH FIENNES has been criticised for his contribution to the debate around the identity of the next Bond after he said the role should “not necessarily” be played by a black actor.

Ongoing calls for a black Bond have sparked a heated debate, with vocal fans of the books and films vehemently arguing that the MI6 agent should stay true to author Ian Fleming’s vision.

Others have also suggested that a woman should be cast as the next 007.

“I’d like to see a great black actor inhabit a bond-like persona, but not necessarily it be in the same franchise. I think we could remake the idea of bond as a woman or as an actor of any, of ethnicity, in another vehicle,” Fiennes said during an interview on Newsnight.

He added: “I think that there should be artistic freedom and not to feel that I’m bound by social political pressures to make this piece of work to satisfy a certain band of opinion. I think that’s not artistically coherent.”

Fiennes, who says he does not know the title of the new Bond film and has not seen the screenplay, is joining the franchise to play the role of M, a role most recently played by Dame Judi Dench.

His casting and comments have prompted some critics to accuse him of hypocrisy.

“Let me get this straight, Ralph Fiennes says James Bond can’t be played by a woman or person of colour but took over a role from a woman??? Make it make sense,” one commenter wrote on Twitter.

Another wrote: “Mr Fiennes needs to understand that Jesus has been portrayed and played by white actors even though his true identity according to scriptures is a black man, so a fictional character only suitable for a white actor is wrong.”

Idris Elba is one of the actors whose name is always brought up in the discussion over a black Bond. However, the Luther actor has denied claims he will replace Daniel Craig and fans are split over whether he is a good fit for the role.

“Idris Elba is a great actor, but he's no Bond. Ian Fleming described Bond as having blue-grey eyes; how many black men have them? Having a black man play Bond would mean that the backstory would make no sense at all!” wrote one Twitter user.

While another wrote: “Just to put this out there, Idris Elba as James Bond makes perfect sense. He’s cool, has a bomb accent and is sexy as f***. As an actor he will embody the role. This backlash reminds me of when Daniel Craig was to be the first blond Bond. It’s fiction folks, relax and enjoy.”

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