James Norton: We need to treat cause rather than symptom of lack of diversity

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

James Norton has addressed the prospect of casting a non-white James Bond, saying it is important but “we need to treat the cause rather than the symptom” of a lack of diversity.

The Grantchester actor has long been considered a frontrunner to take over the role of 007 from Daniel Craig, mentioned alongside stars such as Sam Heughan, Tom Hardy, Idris Elba and, more recently, Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page.

The possibility of casting a Bond who is not a white man has been a talking point for years but has gained further traction in the wake of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Norton told GQ Hype: “There is an argument that, rather than make Bond a person of colour, why not create a new story that is authentically representative and isn’t repurposed?

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“But, then, you’re never going to create a franchise that will compete with the power of Bond from the off.

“It has to be a bit of everything, doesn’t it? I realise I’m talking in platitudes.”

The actor has established his own production company during lockdown and said he hopes to help affect real change in the industry by ensuring there is diversity behind the camera.

He said: “That, I think, is more important. Obviously, casting a Bond of colour is important if handled in a sensitive way, but there’s a bigger picture: we need to treat the cause rather than the symptom.”

Idris Elba allegations
Idris Elba has often been touted as a possible successor to Daniel Craig (Ian West/PA)

Norton said he will also consider the approach to nude and sex scenes in his projects, adding: “There is so much potential for trauma.

“Everyone is sensitive about their naked body, so if you are going to have a sex scene, write ‘sex scene’ and have actors say what they’re comfortable with.”

The full interview is online at GQ Hype now.