Nigerian born David Oyelowo is to play James Bond. Oyelowo said he has picked by the Ian Fleming estate to record the audio book for Trigger Mortis, a new officially commissioned Bond book written by Anthony Horowitz. The ‘Selma’ star said he is “very honoured” by the offering. “I am officially the only person on planet Earth who can legitimately say: ‘I am the new James Bond’ – even saying that name is the cinematic equivalent of doing the ‘to be or not to be’ speech,” Oyelowo stated. Born in Oxford to Nigerian parents, his performance as Henry VI drew critical acclaim, but also “very real resistance”, particularly from one academic. Oyelowo said: “He said that we open ourselves to ridicule if we allow black people to play English kings when English kings have never been black. But I’ve never seen an Egyptian play Cleopatra … so it’s a nonsensical statement.”
Oyelowo’s previous roles include Henry VI for the Royal Shakespeare Company – which made him the first black actor to play an English king in a major Shakespeare production. He also played the MI5 officer Danny Hunter in the BBC TV drama Spooks and was acclaimed for his performance as Martin Luther King in Selma.