LOS ANGELES - US actress Zoe Saldana has launched a four-letter tirade on Wednesday apparently aimed at James Bond writer Anthony Horowitz, after the novelist said Idris Elba was "too street" to play the fictional spy.

Saldana, 38, who appears with Elba in the upcoming "Star Trek Beyond," described English mystery writer Horowitz as a "coward" and a "hypocrite" over the comments made in a newspaper interview last year. "What kind of ignorant comment to make is that? Just say 'I don't see James Bond as a black man.' I would respect that more than hiding behind some cowardly, stupid answer," Saldana said in an interview with AFP. Saldana, in Los Angeles to promote the latest installment of the "Star Trek" franchise which opens in the United States on July 22, said she was angered by the comments by "one of the writers" of Bond that Elba was "thuggish."

 She didn't name him, but was almost certainly referring to 61-year-old Horowitz, who was commissioned by the estate of Bond creator Ian Fleming to write the 2015 novel "Trigger Mortis."

Horowitz was asked in an interview published by Britain's Daily Mail in August last year for his thoughts on 43-year-old Elba, the favorite at the time to replace outgoing Bond actor Daniel Craig.

"For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It's not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too street for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah," he was quoted as saying.

Saldana said Craig, too, was known to have "a hard edge to him" before being hired for 2006's "Casino Royale," the first of his four Bond films, but had not been held back by his reputation.

The actress, who plays communications officer Nyota Uhura in the movie trilogy which rebooted the iconic "Star Trek" sci-fi film and television series, accused Horowitz of insulting Elba's character.

"Just because (Idris) is black and he's a DJ and he has one of the coolest walks I've ever seen in man he's thuggish? Really? So when he played Mandela he played him like a thug?" Saldana told AFP.