Idris Elba
Idris Elba arrives for the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in LondonReuters

Emails leaked by Sony hackers reveal that Idris Elba could be the next James Bond.

An email from Amy Pascal, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment's motion pictures group reportedly said: "Idris should be the next Bond", according to The Daily Beast.

Pascal was emailing Elizabeth Cantillon, the former executive vice-president of production for Columbia Pictures, which is responsible for distributing the Bond franchise.

There has been plenty of speculation that Elba, 42, could be the first James Bond of African descent.

The British actor has stoked online fodder by saying he would love to take over from Daniel Craig when the latter's tenure as the iconic spy ends.

During a recent Q&A on Reddit, when asked by an online poster if he would accept the role, Elba replied: "Yes, if it was offered to me, absolutely."

Talk of the Mandela actor playing Ian Fleming's most well-known character gained traction back in 2012 when Skyfall Bond girl Naomie Harris claimed that Elba was in talks with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli.

"I didn't realise that there was this talk and then I did a film with Idris and he said that he met [Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli, and that it does seem like there is a possibility in the future that there could very well be a black James Bond," Harris said.

Elba has previously stated that he doesn't want to be labelled if he was offered the coveted Bond role and accepted it.

"I don't want to be the black James Bond," he said. "Sean Connery wasn't the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn't the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don't want to be called the black James Bond."

Meanwhile, Daniel Craig, who is currently filming his fourth Bond film Spectre, has revealed that he is keen to leave the franchise.

"I've been trying to get out of this from the very moment I got into it, but they won't let me go," he told Rolling Stone magazine.

"And I've agreed to do a couple more, but let's see how this one does, because business is business and if the shit goes down, I've got a contract that somebody will happily wipe their ass with."

Much of the correspondence leaked as a result of the Sony cyberattacks relates to the Bond franchise, and indicates that the latest script was leaked and that the production has gone massively over budget.