Bond Villain Yaphet Kotto Says a Black Bond Would Be ‘Silly’

By Qimmah Saafir Apr 13, 2015

Yaphet Kotto, the actor famous for his role as the first black James Bond villain in "Live and Let Die," says that there is no way 007 should ever be black. In a recent interview with The Big Issue, Kotto explains why:

James Bond cannot be black. Political correctness be damned, we have to stay with what is literally correct. He was established by Ian Fleming as a white character, played by white actors. It’s silly. Play 003 or 006 but you cannot be 007. A lot of people say we should be allowed to play everything. Don’t be ridiculous. If I say I want to play JFK I should be laughed out the room. Why should James Bond be black? It’s silly.

When the interviewer pointed out that James Bond is fictional, Kotto, who starred in television’s "Homicide: Life on the Street," further defended his stance. 

I don’t think it’s right for black actors or writers to do roles that whites have made historically white heroic roles. These roles are not written for black men. Black men should stop trying to play white heroes. We have pens. Put a black man in a role that no one else has established.

Despite the actor’s opinion on black men playing "white heroic roles," Kotto feels that the roles he has chosen have all helped break the mould and open doors for other black actors.  

That was my plan, to play parts that would open up the doors for others, and it worked. One of these movies was ["]The Liberation of L. B. Jones["] – no one had seen a black man kill a white man onscreen prior to that. That movie created what would later be known as blaxpolitation cinema. After that they started putting black guys as cops, black guys as killers, then "Live and Let Die" was the first time you saw a black guy out to do James Bond. We’d never seen a black man chase a white man across the screen. He was a hero!

Yet, the Bond villain refuses to be a part of any criticism thrown at the Academy due to what many feel have been negligent actions when it comes to honoring black film and filmmakers. Most recently, the "Selma" snub. 

They’re wrong. The motion picture has cast all kinds of African Americans behind and in front of the camera. I’m in the Academy and I resent people who are not in the Academy making comments about what the Academy should do. People who project racial issues into movies have no business in our business. To get in the Academy is not easy. You have to do a certain amount of A-class movies and be brought in by two members of the Academy – Sammy Davis Jr and Richard Dreyfuss vouched for me. Every movie that comes in is looked upon. I didn’t vote for Selma. Movies are to be judged on the integrity of their creative art and not political reasons.

Read more of his interview here