Who Will Be the Next James Bond?
A leading bookmaker has stopped taking bets on the identity of the next James Bond, following a significant amount of money being staked on Tom Hiddleston. Working on the basis of “there’s no smoke without fire”, the wily bookie has assumed that someone must know something.
Now I think we can all agree that Mr. Hiddleston would make an excellent Bond, but let’s not stop the fight prematurely. There are a lot of seriously strong contenders out there just waiting to slip into 007s tux, fire up the DB5 and take it for a spin.
So let’s take a closer look at the actors vying to replace Daniel Craig, and hoping to find themselves staring down that famous gun barrel. Do pay attention….
The current runaway favourite, he was apparently spotted meeting with Sam Mendes and Barbara Broccoli last week. He ticks pretty much every box you’d be looking for to create that iconic image of James Bond. English, sophisticated, handsome, looks good in a tux. He’s no stranger to big budget action franchises either, portraying the MCU’s most wonderful villain, Loki. His recent stint on the BBC/AMC John le Carré espionage drama The Night Manager has cemented his status as the man to beat for one of cinema’s most coveted roles.
Verdict: He’s an obvious choice, but with good reason. Given the right scripts, he could create an iconic 007.
Anthony Horowitz, the author currently writing new James Bond novels, famously said that Idris Elba was “too street” to play 007, a “bit rough” and not suave enough to portray the super spy. He apologised for his clumsy choice of words, and quite rightly too, because come on…Idris Elba would make a phenomenal Bond! Charming, effortlessly cool, and a bit dangerous, Elba would bring a physicality to the role we’ve not seen before. Don’t waste your breath telling me that Bond can’t be black. Or that Bond can’t be working class. He’s not a historical character, he’s a work of fiction, and can be played by anyone. We’ve had 50 years of Bond being an upper class white guy. Maybe it’s time for a change.
Verdict: After the retrograde Spectre sent Bond rocketing back to the past, to cast Elba would make a real statement, that Bond is finally ready to enter the 21st century.
The star of Homeland and Billions would be the perfect choice for 007, if the producers decide to continue with the current model. He would represent a very safe alternative to take over from Daniel Craig. Intense, brooding – and as his turn as Nicholas Brody in Homeland proved – more than capable of playing a tortured soul. If the plan going forward is to move away from the dark and serious tone that has epitomised the Craig era, then Lewis probably isn’t the ideal candidate. However, if continuity in terms of tone and theme are what the folk at Sony Eon are looking for, they could do a lot worse than casting Damian Lewis.
Verdict: A safe pair of hands, but would do little to revolutionise the saga.
Inception (dir. Christopher Nolan 2010) was one of the great James Bond films that wasn’t actually a James Bond film. Set in a series of dreamscapes, the film had a glamorous globe-trotting cast, megalomaniac businessmen, secret lairs in the mountains, and astonishing action and fight scenes. It was a Bond film in all but name. And in the middle of this film, was a character called Eames. A suave, stylish, wise-cracking, ultra-cool badass, played by Tom Hardy. I urge you to watch Inception again, and not immediately think that Tom Hardy should play Bond. However, it’s difficult to imagine that Hardy would be willing to sign up for such a life and career changing franchise.
Verdict: Much like Elba, Hardy would be an inspired choice to wield Bond’s famous Walther PPK, but in all likelihood, he’s probably a bit too dangerous for the producer’s tastes.
Soooo…apparently the sexy dwarf from The Hobbit films is in with a chance of being the next James Bond. Like the afore mentioned Mr. Hiddleston, Turner has also reportedly held talks with the producers. Now I didn’t see Poldark, but I understand that his unrealistically buff physique in this show led to the simultaneous rising of not only his popularity but also the heart rates of the vast majority of the female population (who watch Poldark). Does this qualify him to take on the role of a cinematic institution like James Bond? Well, it doesn’t hurt, but I would still view him as the outside bet in this race.
Verdict: He looks the part, but doesn’t quite have the same level of screen presence and charisma as the other top choices.
What if Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson went in a completely different direction? What if they confounded all expectations, by casting someone who not only embodies all the suave sophistication and killer instinct required to be Bond, but also takes the franchise in a direction it has never been in before? What if…..(whisper it)…..they cast a woman? Imagine someone like Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt or Rebecca Ferguson (who practically played the female 007 in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) taking on the role. Any one of them would do an awesome job. Of course, whether or not you are prepared to see any of these women as Bond depends on how precious you feel about dear old James. Personally, I think Jane Bond has quite a nice ring to it.
Verdict: Considering how the world reacted to female Ghostbusters, I would conclude that there is Dr. No Chance of this happening. Pity.
This article first appeared on Entertainment Focus