Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Casting Call: James Bond

With a heritage stretching back over 50 years, the James Bond series is no stranger to switching lead actors; six different men have played the suave English super spy in the official EON Bond canon - Sean Connery (6 appearances), George Lazenby (1), Roger Moore (7), Timothy Dalton (2), Pierce Brosnan (4) and Daniel Craig (4 and counting).

In recent months, and in the wake of some candid comments from current Bond actor Daniel Craig, the chatter on who will be the next actor in line to play 007 has begun to build. Even though Craig reportedly has another Bond film on his contract, Internet speculators love to fancast their perfect Bond - and why should I be any different?

As I have done in the past with characters like Spider-man and Lara Croft, I put my mind to work on who I think should be the next James Bond - these are the choices that I came up with. Enjoy!

Oscar Isaac

Best known for: Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex Machina, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Oscar Isaac is steadily creeping into every major franchise on the planet right now; after appearing in acclaimed indie fair such as Ex Machina, Inside Llewyn Davis and Drive, Isaac has nabbed roles in the upcoming Star Wars revival as well as the 2016 X-Men instalment, Apocalypse.

So why not Bond? He may not be British, but that didn't stop Lazenby or Brosnan. We've never had an American Bond (in the official Eon series anyway), so maybe it's time that the British icon dipped its toe on the other side of the pond (providing that Isaac can get the suave accent right that is).

That being said, at the age of 36, Isaac may be a little too old - I know, that's a weird thing to say about someone who is only 36 but look at it this way; Craig has one more film, which may take up to four years to make. The next man to fill the role will hopefully stick around just as long, meaning Isaac would be well into his fifties when he puts the Walther PPK back in the case. Maybe Eon will steer more toward someone fresher faced?

Henry Cavill

Best known for: Man of Steel, The Man From UNCLE, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

It's common knowledge by now that a youthful Henry Cavill, at the age of 22, auditioned for Bond back when Casino Royale was on the cards. He came pretty close too before the producers opted to go with a more seasoned actor and Daniel Craig got the role.

Cavill has since landed the iconic role of Superman instead, a task that will see him appear in countless Justice League films until the end of time presumably. Is splitting his workload between Supes and Bond too much of an ask? Maybe, and it's a dreadful shame because look at that face! He looks PERFECT for Bond, and if his role in Guy Ritchie's The Man From UNCLE earlier in the year is anything to go by, he has the charisma and swagger down pat also.

If this whole recasting affair was down to me, I'd cast the handsome devil right now and tell Craig to take a hike. He's the spitting image of what Bond looks like in my head when I read Fleming's original novels and would fit the tailored suit and shiny shoes with no problem. At the age of 32, Cavill is teetering on the precipice of missing his chance at playing Bond, especially if Craig does stay on for one last roll of the dice - but if the DC Cinematic Universe starts to gain momentum, maybe Henry won't care all that much.

Dan Stevens

Best known for: Downton Abbey, The Guest

Dan Stevens is a star on the rise, and what better gig to make him a household name than James Bond? We've seen that he has the style and acting chops on Downton Abbey, and we've seen that he can handle himself in a firefight in Adam Wingard's surreal horror/action, The Guest.

Set to appear alongside Emma Watson in Disney's live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast in 2017, Stevens is currently just 33 - making him the ideal age to take on the iconic role of Bond should Craig drop out now.

He's got the looks (though that beard would have to go) and he's got the accent - what more do you really need? Audiences aren't going to be too opposed to the fairer hair now that Craig has opened that can of worms, whilst that chiseled jawline doesn't hurt his chances with the ladies.

Luke Evans

Best known for: The Hobbit series, Fast and Furious 6, Dracula Untold

Now here is a candidate that has been staring me in the face the entire time without me realising it; Luke Evans, best known for his role as Bard the Bowman from Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy has pretty much the complete package when it comes to winning the role of James Bond; he's kinda the right age (36), he's handled action in the past (Fast and Furious, The Hobbit) and he's certainly got the visage for it (again, if you picture him without the seedy mo).

He's had his fair share of hits (Fast and Furious 6) and misses (Immortals, The Three Musketeers, Dracula Untold), but I reckon the Welshman would make for a good candidate. The only real weakness in his repertoire is a filmography that is oddly bereft of serious acclaimed drama, an area that Craig had covered thanks to his role in things like Sam Mendes' Road to Perdition.

Aside from also appearing in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (as Gaston) and the upcoming adaptation of The Girl on the Train, Evan's schedule is looking a little sparse; could Bond be filling in the blanks?

Richard Madden

Best known for: Game of Thrones, Cinderella

Richard Madden's scruffy Scottish face is familiar to most people due to his role as Robb Stark on HBO's Game of Thrones, before he met an untimely and grisly demise at the hands of Walder Frey near the climax of Season 3 that is.

Since then, Madden has dabbled in a bit of TV and starred alongside Lily James in Disney's live action Cinderella earlier this year. Other than that, his resume is looking a little sparse to be honest. Does this rule him out?

Not necessarily, but past Bonds such as Craig and Brosnan had a pretty hefty filmographies under their belt that covered all sorts of genres before they took on the role - Madden hasn't proven himself as an action hero in the same way that Kit Harington, another Game of Thrones alumni has, or shown himself capable of carrying a film on his own. He was all sorts of charming in Cinderella, but Lily James rightly made that film all about her.

The Scottish accent won't hurt his chances however; after all, it didn't deprive Sean Connery of becoming a fan-favourite James Bond. And I'm no expert, but he's certainly got those piercing good looks - right ladies? This would be an interesting choice, but maybe Mr. Madden is just known by too few at the moment...

Honourable mentions

In all honesty, Michael Fassbender should be on the main list of candidates. That opening scene in X-Men: First Class where he fights the men in the Argentinian bar feels like an audition tape for James Bond, and I think that he would kill it in the role. The only reason that I excluded him was that he is already so tied up with franchises already (X-Men, Alien, Assassin's Creed) and, in fairness, I'd much prefer he kept working on interesting independent films like Slow West, Frank and Macbeth.

Tom Hardy is another actor who crossed my mind, but he seems pretty happy mixing it between bigger-budget blockbusters (Mad Max, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) and smaller films angled at awards season (Legend, Locke, The Revenant) that upsetting that balance might mean we see less Hardy films a year, and frankly that would be a damn shame. Plus, isn't he a little obvious? Still, clean shaven and wearing a sharp suit, Hardy would be an ace choice that would be universally accepted.

Now, this wouldn't be a James Bond fancast post without mentioning Idris Elba, an actor who has been linked with the role more times than I've had school dinners. But y'know what? I don't see it. It's got nothing to do with his skin colour, or his actor credentials (of which there are many) - I just don't buy into Elba working in the role, and a lot of that is because he's only a few years younger than Daniel Craig. Looking long term, Idris doesn't cross my mind as a solid replacement.

So there we have it, those are my musings on who should (and shouldn't) step into the hallowed shoes and suit of 007. What do you think, and who would you love to see take on the role? Leave me a comment below! Thanks for reading.


  1. Interesting question! Tom Hardy certainly is a popular actor and of course he has the British accent to his advantage.

    Tom Hiddelston might be an interesting pick, he can do emotion, action and humor, although I don't know if he has the star quality to carry a movie, and he probably needs to pile on a few muscles as he's a tad skinny. He's in his mid 30s and said he would love be in one, so there is that.

    1. Thanks for commenting Chris! Hardy would certainly be a popular choice. I don't know about Hiddleston though, I'd have thought he'd suit a villainous role more.

  2. Great list! I know a lot of people are rooting for Tom Hardy (who would indeed be excellent) but I just really can't see him tying himself down to franchise like that. We'll see though!

    I definitely think Dan Stevens would be an excellent choice, glad to see him on your list. Him, Cavill or Elba would be my top choices!

    1. Thanks Heather! Hardy is a pretty busy guy so maybe a long-term series like Bond isn't the right move for him.

  3. Henry Cavill and Luke Evans - YESSSSSSSS!!
    And I would LOVE to see a black Bond. Oh my gosh how legit would that be?! And Idris Elba's voice = <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    1. It would be great to see them cast someone of colour, yeah - I just don't think Elba is the right choice. He does have an awesome voice though, he has that going for him :)

  4. It's a good list, but I can't help noticing that the list is composed entirely of white men. I guess it's harder to picture anything else since we're generally used to seeing that choice made with Bond, but I see no reason we couldn't try anything different. I know Idris Elba can do action pretty well, so if they did cast him, I'd have to see how his Bond was treated before making a clear judgement, though if it didn't work I suspect it would be more due to problems with the overall film than any flaws of his acting ability.

    One idea I've frequently entertained is the idea of a female James Bond. After all, there's no reason it couldn't work. The only issues would be the first name and how to treat the Bond girls, and both of those are easy to address. We could change her name to Jamie and indicate that James is a nickname, but in this day and age when names are becoming less gender-specific, it might not be a huge stretch for a girl to be named James. As for the Bond girls, there's two simple options. Either we change nothing and have Jamie interact with them much like Craig's Bond, or we could introduce Bond guys. Alternatively, you could go for a middle ground and write Jamie Bond as bisexual (something they did sort of allude to with Craig's Bond), thereby allowing both Bond guys and girls.

    1. I did notice that once I'd finished writing it as well, and it was by no means intentional. I'd love to see someone of colour cast in the role (it'd lend the series a 21st Century vibe that was sorely missing in Spectre), but I genuinely couldn't think of any actors that would suit. Like I said in the post, Elba is a little old for the role and they're most likely looking to someone who can commit to 3-4 films.

      A female James Bond would be an interesting direction, although it doesn't look as likely. It'd be a stark departure from the formula - for better or worse. I think a better direction to take would be to keep Bond as male but establish a recurring female character that could potentially spin-off into her own series, kind of like what they were attempting to do with Jinx before Die Another Day shit the bed on that one.



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