"Black James Bond is David Oyelowo"

David Oyelowo is next up to play James Bond… after snaring the role in a forthcoming audiobook.

The star of ‘Selma’, in which he played Martin Luther King Jr, was personally invited to take on the part by the estate of Ian Fleming, the creator of 007.

Though it’s a rumour that has oft baffled its subject, it appears he’s now beaten Idris Elba to the accolade.

Elba had long been rumoured as a possible replacement once Daniel Craig relinquishes the role of Bond, but had frequently denied any supposed meetings with Bond studio Eon.

“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,” said Oyelowo of his appointment.

“I was asked specifically by the Fleming estate, which is really special.”

Speaking about the previous talk of Elba taking up the role, he said: “A titan on screen, he has all the qualities that you’d want in a James Bond. Because films and TV affect culture, a black Bond would be a cultural event. A statement… beyond just entertainment.”

His first job will be to play Bond, and other characters, in ‘Trigger Mortis’, penned by Anthony Horowitz from a commission by the Fleming estate.

Oyelowo isn’t the first black actor to play Bond, however.

That honour goes to ‘Holby City’ star Hugh Quarshie, who voiced Bond in an audio book version of ‘Dr No’, released last year.

“What an honour to have an actor as talented as David to read my take on Bond. He has a brilliant voice and talent for bringing out the nuances of dialogue and characters,” Horowitz added.

'Trigger Mortis’ was released earlier this year, coinciding with Fleming’s 107th birthday, and takes place two weeks after the events of 'Goldfinger’.

Odds on Oyelowo becoming the next Bond in the movies have now been slashed. William Hill is offering 5/1 in a dramatic drop from the previous 50/1.

Damien Lewis is still favourite to take over, at 5/2, with Idris Elba at 3/1 and Tom Hardy at 4/1.

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