Meet the new James Bond: David Oyelowo — or rather, Oyelowo’s voice. The Selma actor will voice the spy in Trigger Mortis, a Bond book written by Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by the Ian Fleming estate, The Guardian reports.
“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,” he said. “I was asked specifically by the Fleming estate, which is really special.”
Oyelowo, who also said he was “very honored” to be chosen, is not the first black actor to voice Bond. In 2012, Hugh Quarshie portrayed 007 in an audiobook version of Dr. No. Still, Oyelowo’s casting as the iconic MI6 agent could fuel more discussion around casting a black actor in the role on screen; after all, rumors that Idris Elba would replace Daniel Craig in the films (Craig returns as Bond in this fall’s Spectre) continue to come up, though the Luther actor has repeatedly said he has never entered talks with the franchise’s producers.
If Elba were to become Bond, however, Oyelowo says he’s all in. “A titan on screen, he has all the qualities that you’d want in a James Bond,” he said of the rumors. “Because films and TV affect culture, a black Bond would be a cultural event… a statement… beyond just entertainment.”
Trigger Mortis will be released Sept. 8.