With the release of Daniel Craig’s fourth Bond film Spectre inching ever nearer, along with the hype and expectation, speculation is also growing as to the future of this very British screen icon. It’s currently not certain whether Daniel Craig will remain with the franchise and reported interviews with him this week suggest that perhaps he’s ready to move on from James Bond.
With that in mind, I’ve been considering who I would most like replace Daniel in the role. It’s certainly not going to be an easy task for whoever it is, with Daniel revamping the world of Bond over the last decade for a new generation, which was certainly needed. As much as I enjoyed the Pierce Brosnan films, they had become rather silly and in a world of Jason Bourne and more serious spy thrillers, Daniel’s rougher, harder, more damaged Bond was very welcome. I’m hoping he’ll stay for one last film, but perhaps, if as successful as Skyfall, he’ll see this as a good time to pass the baton on to someone new.
So, below are the candidates from within which I hope the next man to step in to that dinner jacket comes from. Yes, I did say man. I’ll start by saying, personally, I think James Bond must be two things – Male and British. The character created by Ian Fleming was a man and it’s a very masculine role. I don’t believe I’m doing a disservice to my gender to say I think the character should remain a man. I also firmly believe the role should be played by a British actor. Yes, we Brits are taking more and more American roles in Hollywood, but Bond is very much linked to the culture of the country (he took part in the Olympic opening ceremony alongside the Queen for goodness sake!) and with such a strong pool of homegrown talent available, I’d be frustrated if the role was played by anyone else.
With those disclaimers out of the way, here are my top choices. Time will tell if any of them go on to put on a tux and enjoy their martini, shaken not stirred.
Not very original I know, but Idris Elba has been on my list for years. He has all the attributes for Bond. He’s a brilliant actor, who has a big enough profile thanks to The Wire, Luther and his film work (following his role of Mandela, he is receiving strong praise for the forthcoming Netflix feature Beasts of No Nation). He is full of charisma, and has the physicality to convincingly portray the action man side of the character. We’ve also already seen he can play a slightly troubled, tormented soul in Luther and he’d certainly charm the ladies. After all the hoo-ha around him, perhaps this ship has now sailed, but he’s certainly still high up on my list.
The latest rumour mill suggests Damian Lewis is now the frontrunner to take over from Daniel Craig and that wouldn’t be a bad choice at all. He clearly has the British suave looks and he’s proven himself capable of leading a franchise (let’s face it Homeland isn’t the same without him is it?). His recent television roles also highlighted his versatility as an actor, not just capable of British period dramas. Homeland means seeing him with a licence to kill would not seem farfetched and the wonderful series Life (still my favourite of his) demonstrated his ability for humour, which every Bond also needs to have.
A little younger than Damian Lewis and so possibly a stronger contender when considering longevity in the role is Mr Hardy, whose star is certainly well on the rise. After recent successes in the Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max and Legend, he has shown he has the talent needed to inhabit the role of 007 and is quite an exciting choice, which would be a bit less predictable than Damian Lewis.
I admit I had been sceptical about the idea of Tom Hiddleston stepping in to 007’s shoes. He’s a great actor, but could I really see him as Bond? While sitting in the UK premiere of High-Rise tonight (review here), I suddenly could – seeing him in a sharp suit, sipping champagne from a martini glass, it was a perfect Bond image! He’d need to work on the physicality of the role, but he’s young (an advantage over Damian Lewis), he’s popular internationally thanks to his role as Loki and he’d bring something different to follow after Daniel Craig. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea!
I admit this pick may be fuelled a little by the fact Rupert Penry-Jones was my favourite of the Spooks team, but that’s certainly no bad reason. Across four years of the BBC’s spy drama, he displayed all the personality traits for a great Bond – charm, intelligence, vulnerability and a damaged past (and yes he’s rather attractive too). I can however see that he may be getting a bit too old now, especially if Daniel sticks around for a fifth film and looks-wise may be too similar to Daniel Craig to follow in his footsteps, but it would be an interesting choice to consider.
If the producers were willing to look at taking the character of Bond slightly younger, then I’d hope Tom Hughes would be on the list of possibilities. Admittedly still rather unknown, he’d bring a fresh new Bond for a new generation. Plus not everyone (especially those who hadn’t seen films such as Layer Cake) knew Daniel Craig when he took over. Still best known for his roles in the BBC’s Silk and the recent Cold War espionage drama The Game, he would be a refreshing Bond.
From Poldark to Bond? Why not? Aidan Turner is growing in popularity since leaving Being Human. He’s been in The Hobbit and of course is now generating excitement across the country in the BBC’s revival of Poldark (series 2 is currently filming). I have yet to watch Poldark and catch Aidan Turner fever, but I can already imagine him in MI-6. He’s young, charming, would clearly have no problem with the pace and fitness levels needed for the role and would look great in a dinner jacket.
As this is my wish list to choose from I can’t leave off one of my favourite actors at the moment. Oliver Rix is still better known for his theatre work, most notably playing Aumerle alongside David Tennant in the RSC’s Richard II. Currently involved in the new American television series Of Kings and Prophets, perhaps his profile is about to grow if it’s successful. He’s certainly got the looks for Bond as well as the charisma, but as with Tom Hughes, he may be a little too young, but you never know!
So those are my top choices. If one of these goes on to be the next 007, I’ll be more than happy. Time will tell!
Spectre opens in the UK on 26th October 2015 (6th Novmeber in the USA).