Who Should Be the Next James Bond?
With rumors that Daniel Craig might be stepping down as James Bond, we take a look at ten actors who could play agent 007.
Though a critical success as the agent with a license to kill, rumors about Daniel Craig leaving the role have been going around since pre-production on his last film, 'Skyfall'. Now with his fourth film as Bond, 'Spectre', due out before the end of the year, rumors have kicked up again, with even Daniel Craig himself wondering how much longer he'd be able to play the role.
At 48-years-old, Daniel Craig is younger than Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan when they last played Bond, but with the series being more physically demanding than ever, now may be an opportune time for a new actor to take the part. Here we'll take a look at some actors who have been fan favorite suggestions for the role, and even some who were considered for the part in the past. And as an actor's age is a factor in their consideration for Bond, especially after Roger Moore overstayed his welcome into his late 50s, we'll take a look at each actor's age and how that could play into their chances.
Hugh Jackman was a fan favorite for the role of Bond back with Brosnan left after 'Die Another Day'. Reportedly, Jackman was considered for the role in the reboot, 'Casino Royale', but didn't like the creative direction they were pitching and took his name out of consideration. He wouldn't be the first Aussie to be Bond, and can definitely pull off the look and physicality that has become synonymous with the role.
However, at only seven months younger than Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman is probably a little too long in the tooth (Yeah, its a real phrase, look it up) to be considered a long-term replacement for Craig. Though the physically wouldn't be impossible for the man who's played Wolverine for over 15 years, even Jackman has said he's getting to a point in his life where he doesn't want to have to worry about working out all of the time and just have a pizza.
As Thorin in the 'Hobbit' trilogy, Richard Armitage worked a great balance of kicking butt on the screen and being easy on the eyes for the ladies, two key factors needed for Bond. Apart from his work as Thorin, Armitage is well known to British audiences but not very well known to Americans, giving him the potential to walk into the role without being typecast in the eyes of the audience. At 44-years-old he's not too old but may not be a prime choice in terms of longevity in the role, but if they are looking for another Timothy Dalton to only knock out two films, Armitage wouldn't be a bad choice.
Going from fighting zombies to fighting terrorists would be an interesting change for Andrew Lincoln. He's become a recognizable and bankable star with his run on 'The Walking Dead', so there wouldn't be too much worry about the audience being completely unfamiliar with their new Bond. And turning just 42 the other day, Lincoln's at an age where he could have a decent run were he to be selected. The only thing getting in his way at this point would be conflicts with filming 'The Walking Dead', and at this point there's no certainty on how long the series will continue for. At least with Bond he wouldn't have to fake an accent anymore.
Another actor on this list previously rumored for the part, Ewan McGregor is long overdue in the eyes of a lot of fans. McGregor was reportedly in contention for the role in 'Casino Royale', but was concerned about typecasting and declined.
Let's be honest, McGregor was the best part of the Star Wars prequels, hands down. He showed the growth of Obi-Wan Kenobi from young Padawan to Jedi Master who is second only to Yoda. And its his performance as Master Kenobi that would lend itself to his potential as Bond, with the intelligence, ferocity, emotion, and humor to make his portrayal of Bond the total package. And though McGregor is 44, its hard to deny that he's aged very well and has maintained a youthful appearance, possibly allowing him a longer life-span in the role than other actors in his age range.
Jack Davenport is a name that I've never seen associated with contenders for the role of 007, and that's a shame. Gaining widespread attention in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films as Norrington, Davenport was given the chance to delve into Bond-esque action as Lancelot in 'Kingsman: The Secret Service'. As Lancelot, Davenport was Bond. Casually strolling into danger with a smirk and quip, taking out a room full of thugs, and stealing a moment to relish a good drink. Davenport would be a return to a Roger Moore/Pierce Brosnan style of Bond, contrary to the hardened Bond Craig's been portraying, but he could make it work. And at 42-years-old, he's not too old to be out of contention, just not a long-term choice.
Academy Award nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor isn't a name people have readily heard as a speculated Bond, but I'd argue he'd be amazing in the role. We know he has the acting chops after his Oscar nominated role in '12 Years a Slave', but its his role as the Operative in 'Serenity' that puts him on the list. As the Operative, Ejiorfor showed an intensity and brutality, but also a class and suave nature some have argued has been absent in Craig's run as Bond. And being only 38-years-old definitely gives him the opening for the long run as Bond, possibly longer than Roger Moore's seven film stretch.
Hold on, we have to give fan girls a moment to swoon here.
If Tom Hiddleston isn't in serious contention for Bond at some point in his career, it would be quite a loss. While Hiddleston is mainly known to mainstream audiences as Loki, its his stage work that makes his a viable candidate for the role. A trained Shakespearian actor, Hiddleston has mastered the commanding performance necessary for Bond, and has a great deal of experience in the physical combat necessary for stage plays. I'm sure the female audience would agree that he has the looks and the charm needed to seduce ladies on the mission, and being 34-years-old will work in his favor in terms to potential longevity.
Anyone who believes Idris Elba couldn't be Bond is fooling themselves. What's important to play Bond is the physicality to be a convincing secret agent with a license to kill and the acting ability and charm to back it up, all of which Elba has. He's only 43-years-old, so he'd definitely have a decent run in him.
And let's stop dancing around elephant in the room when it comes to comments about Elba as Bond, "Bond can't be black." And why not? As long as Bond is British, who cares? Every time we got a new Bond in the past, the audience was supposed to accept that this has always been the same guy. So why should that be any different here? Make him black, keep him British, don't make a single comment in the script about the change in skin color, and move along. Yes, its that simple.
After Mad Max, Tom Hardy's status as a Hollywood Heavyweight is pretty solid. Hardy's been giving audiences amazing performances for years in movies like 'Bronson', 'The Dark Knight Rises', and 'Warrior', so its no stretch to think he'd knock it out of the park as Bond. Many have said that with his tattoos and normal appearance, Hardy's too grubby to be the cultured and sophisticated agent, but another trend in his career is the extreme transformations he's gone through for roles, so it would be easy work for Hardy to look the part. At 38, Hardy's as a good age to have a quality stint for the role. And recently, Hugh Jackman named Tom Hardy as his preferred successor for the role of Wolverine. That's one hell of a stamp of approval.
If anyone is the total package of what it takes to play Bond right now, its Henry Cavill. He puts on a suit and immediately looks like he stepped off the sets at Pinewood Studios. With his run as Superman, we know he can handle the physical side, and he's already proven himself as a good actor. And let's be honest, as much as Craig's role in 'Layer Cake' was his proving ground for Bond, Cavill's role as Napoleon Solo in 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' was pretty much his audition for 007, and he nailed it. Being 32, Cavill's at a perfect age to probably have the longest run as Bond without hitting the point Connery, Moore, and Brosnan all did, being a little too old to believably play the part.
And possibly the greatest point towards Cavill being the next Bond is that he was already almost Bond. Cavill was the confirmed runner-up for the role in 'Casino Royale', but lost out to Daniel Craig. And if Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan are any indication, guys who almost get cast at one point usually get the part later on.