(NEW YORK) — Idris Elba is opening up about the recent backlash he faced after he was put in the running for the iconic James Bond role.

In the Vanity Fair cover story, Elba says at first he was excited at the idea of taking on the role of 007.

“James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character, that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey,” he said.  “Of course, if someone said to me ‘Do you want to play James Bond?,’ I’d be like ‘Yeah!’ That’s fascinating to me. But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, ‘Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond."”

However, Elba says his excitement quickly turned to frustration when he realized some fans were against the idea of him being Bond simply because of his race.

“You just get disheartened,” he continues. “When you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be.’ And it really turns out to be the color of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the color of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.”

But Elba believes the best person to assume the role of 007, currently being played by Daniel Craig, isn’t the most likely candidate.

“We’re talking about a spy,” he says. “If you really want to break it down, the more less-obvious it is, the better.”

In May, Elba told the The Daily Mail’s Event magazine that he wasn’t interested in the role because he didn’t want to be known as “THAT character.”

“I’m creating characters now that can still live alongside Idris,” he said. “Not ones that take over me and solely define me.”

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