The question of whether Idris Elba is a good choice for James Bond has surfaced once again.
While talking about his new Bond book Trigger Mortis, author Anthony Horowitz called the English actor who starred in The Wire, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and more "too street" to play 007, according to the Daily Mail. It's not about race, he insisted, just about Elba.
"For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part," Horowitz said. "It's not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too 'street' for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah."
Instead, he cited English actor Adrian Lester — also a black actor — as a better choice.
Several Twitter users called Horowitz out for using "too street" as a coded phrase — that what he was actually referring to was the idea that Elba is too black for the role.
Horowitz apologized to a reader on Twitter who told him she was a former fan of his. "I'm sorry you feel this," he told her. "My comment was not meant to relate to colour."
Questions about whether a non-traditional Bond could work have surrounded Elba's hypothetical casting since rumors first started. Former 007 actor Roger Moore previously said Elba would be a bad choice, saying he is not "English-English," and quickly backed down from those comments.
Elba does have supporters, though, from former Bond Pierce Brosnan to rapper A$AP Rocky. Ironically, Horowitz is part of the reason that Elba wouldn't be the first black Bond anyway — Selma actor David Oyelowo will be voicing the character in the audiobook version of Trigger Mortis.
Horowitz tweeted an apology from his account Tuesday afternoon.
Sept. 1, 2015, 2:05 p.m.: This story has been updated.