While rumors continue to circulate that Idris Elba will take over the James Bond mantle once Daniel Craig calls it quits, neither of the stars match the celebrity of a Bond that could’ve been. That would be the King of Pop, who pleaded with Hollywood to become 007 back in the 1980s.
The news comes courtesy of superstar agent Michael Ovitz and his new tell-all memoir Who Is Michael Ovitz? In the book, Ovitz recounts a meeting in Michael Jackson’s home, where MJ was gunning to become “the star of an action movie.” Ovitz recalls trying to keep a straight face with his business partner Ron Meyer, but then MJ’s hat fell into a bowl of guacamole.
“Then the blob fell off, and Ron totally lost it,” Ovitz wrote. “I cracked up, too, and Michael stalked out. I found him and explained for 15 minutes that we hadn’t been laughing at him. Finally, Michael’s face cleared. ‘OK, Ovitz. OK,’ he said. ‘But I want to play James Bond.’ I am proud to report I didn’t laugh, this time.”
Then Ovitz had to explain to the King of Pop why he wasn’t fit for the role of James Bond. He pointed out Jackson’s lanky frame, saying that MJ was “thinly built, you’re too sensitive, you won’t be credible as a brutal block of stone.”
This finally convinced Jackson to back off his pursuit. But had MJ pushed and gotten his way, he would’ve become the first black James Bond in the franchise’s history. And while Elba remains a hot candidate for the role, the actor has batted away the rumor multiple times.
“There’s no such thing as a black Bond,” Elba has said about the gossip. “It’s interesting that the James Bond thing continues to go. I think it’s more about ‘we just want to have a black guy play James Bond’ rather than ‘Idris Elba, the actor, play James Bond.’ That’s the part that I’m like ‘ugh, come on’.”