Idris Elba: James Bond is Luther | EW.com

TV

Idris Elba explains how 'Luther is Bond' ahead of BBC America special

'You've got a central character that gets himself in a lot of s---. No reinvention of the wheel there'

(Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Idris Elba knows its difficult to escape the rumors (and collective online hope) that he may become the next James Bond, even as he attempts to focus on fleshing out the original character of Luther. But even in discussing the current and future state of his BBC character, Elba is willing to acknowledge the similarities between Luther and 007.

“… The truth is, Luther is Bond. Like, you’ve got a central character that gets himself in a lot of s—. No reinvention of the wheel there,” Elba told EW’s own Amy Wilkinson on Wednesday at panel screening in New York City for Luther’s upcoming fourth season special.

The actor went on to explain that the tighter focus of the special conveys that the character can work in a film-length story. “The idea is that we’ve obviously distilled it via the season to a place where we feel like we can tell the Luther story in a succinct package,” he said. “This represents the TV version of that. I actually think that we can do a film version of it.”

(And if you needed further proof that Elba’s priorities rest with building out the character of Luther and not in the Bond rumors, his comments on the Thursday episode of The Daily Show echo that idea: “There’s no truth to the [Bond] rumor. I’m trying to make Luther into a big character,” he said.)

WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television, and music.

Elba continued to be unafraid of drawing comparisons between his character and the famous spy in terms of whether Luther is synonymous with London, or if the character’s stories could live beyond the city.

“I’m just going to say it, but similarly to the way Bond … similarly to the way every film franchise character uses a city to be the backdrop, you know I think what we do with Luther and London is transferrable to other cities,” Elba said.

What would follow Luther no matter the city is the show’s penchant for being dark, which is something Elba believes suits the show’s smaller episode size over the years. “Luther is too dark and too violent to be able to sustain over [a longer season],” Elba said. “There’s no way I could do it for 23 episodes. There’s no way.

“So while I’m working on Luther I literally do not decide to palate cleanse at the end of the night, there’s no point. … We design the show to be as visceral and as engaging as it can be. Of course it’s a very big story, slightly embellished, but the truth of the matter is, a murder detective has to see this on a daily basis and it’s tough work.”

The Luther special is set to air on BBC America on Dec. 17 at 9 p.m. ET. Check out an exclusive refresher below to catch up before the premiere.