Who next to play our favourite centenarian spy?
After Daniel Craig turned down a ridiculous sum of money to return to the role of James Bond we thought it was time to take a look at some of the best actors out there that could be the perfect fit for our next 007.
When we think about national treasures, the mind often wanders to people like Shakespeare, Elgar, Hawkings, The Queen, or Katie Price (the artist formerly known as Jordan). However, another name is also deservedly on that list: Bond, James Bond. Patrick Bateman can rightly be annoyed that Americans don’t cherish him like we Brits do Bond. But then, perhaps if he tried eliciting a few yuks from the audience after carrying out another murder, rather than rabbiting on about Huey Lewis and the News, he’d do better.
Looking back now, perhaps Ian Fleming and, more likely, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli are to blame for America’s foreign policy over the last 15 years or so. How much can we really blame Bush or Obama for their liberal use of drones to kill “potential” enemies of the state – Bond has been at it for well over half a century! And that’s another thing; Bond has to be a centenarian by now, yet apart from the latter films of Roger Moore, he’s never really looked older than a spritely, middle-aged insurance broker.
And this gets us to the crux of the problem of casting a new Bond: he’s a fictional character that doesn’t exist in reality. So after 54 years of gracing the silver screen, are there really any rules that dictate who should play him? Indeed, it’s said Fleming only created his Scottish heritage after Sean Connery had taken the role.
The producers of the next Bond film look almost certain to have to face up to that challenge and so pick a new actor to play the (in)famous British spy. To say it’s got a lot of people talking would be an understatement. All sorts of names are being chucked into the hat from Jeremy Corbyn to Danny Dyer (“you wot mate – that saands propa nawty”). And so I, dear readers, have drawn the task of presenting to you my humble opinion on some of the runners and riders, likely or otherwise.
1. Idris Elba
The man known for his epic portrayal of DCI John Luther is, in my opinion, the standout actor for the role. Rough and ready, with outrageous good looks and an epic screen presence, I can’t think of anyone better to take the role forwards following Daniel Craig’s re-imagination. Bond, for too long, was a comical character, with cheesy one liners and physically impossible feats (driving/boating/space-ing; delete as appropriate) detracting from the plot. For many that’s what made Bond, James Bond (you see what I did there?). But when Daniel Craig came along we went back to his roots; Bond was no longer the immaculate finished article that Pierce Brosnan presented, but a man still learning the craft. After the disappointment of Spectre, what the franchise needs again is someone that will do what Craig did in 2006; give us something different. For me, Idris Elba is that man.
2. Tom Hiddleston
Beyond playing the loveable rogue that tried to destroy the world with an alien army, Tom Hiddleston has been busy polishing his already excellent credentials. His recent lead in the adaptation of le Carré’s Night Manager, alongside the ever-superb Olivia Coleman, have led a lot of commentators to believe that it’s a done deal. Indeed, we had a glimpse of Hiddleston as a Bond-style character in a recent Jaguar advert with fellow Brits Sir Ben Kingsley and Mark Strong (another excellent outside shout for the Bond role). Going with Hiddleston would
certainly accentuate some of the suave style that Daniel Craig has gently been bringing back to the character, and would give a strong hint as to the direction the franchise is going in. Apart from looking too young for the part, there isn’t a lot you can say to argue against Hiddleston. However, the timing has never been better for producers to really try something different with Bond, and I can’t help but feel going with him would be a nod to the past rather than a leap forwards.
3. Leonardo Dicaprio
Indulge me for a second, if you will. Yes, he’s an American, and yes he’s probably too big for the role (the actor should be known for being Bond, not Bond for being the actor), but I cannot think of a better or more versatile actor than Leo, and on a personal level, I bloody love him. In all likelihood, the chances of him being offered and accepting the role are probably slim to none. But giving him the opportunity to create a new Bond would (apart from potentially help to break the Academy Awards hoodoo the franchise suffers from) give the franchise a plethora of options on where to take the character and his story. And that is a truly exciting prospect.