With today’s news appearing to confirm what we all suspected – that Daniel Craig will not return as 007 – who are the best candidates to take over the most coveted role in British film?
Bookies suspended betting on Hidds earlier this week, so he seems to be in the driving seat to be the next James Bond. He’s a global name, and one of the finest actors working in Britain today. He’s renowned for his intelligent approach to roles – just read any interview with him from the recent High-Rise release – but is that also his downfall? He may be suave, sexy and loved by fans, but is he just a bit too much of…well, a wet blanket, to pull off this character convincingly? Can you picture him eviscerating a horde of enemy gunmen with his bare hands? Me neither. To be honest, I reckon I could take him in a fight, and that’s not saying much. Just look at my author profile.
One man who you wouldn’t want to cross in a dark alley is Tom Hardy. He has a screen presence that is utterly terrifying and he’s no slouch with the more gentlemanly side of his characters either. Remember him in Inception? That’s a vision that could work as Bond. More importantly, how about we get him rocking his Locke accent and get the first openly Welsh Bond? Off-screen he’s decidedly less macho than his persona suggests as well which could bring an interesting new side to the character. The problem here may be in Hardy’s priorities. He’s resisted the lure of long-running blockbusters apart from his brief appearance as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and his path so far has been erratic to say the least. With Craig proving a bit of a loose cannon in the press, will Sony look for a safer Bond this time round?
Elba was the frontrunner for this role the last time rumours swirled, but his viability was attacked by Roger Moore and Anthony Horowitz, the latter claiming he was “too street”. At first glance these comments looked like old-fashioned racism, but when you dig into the full context you can see Horowitz’s point. Bond is one of the poshest characters we have as a nation – for better or worse – and changing that would arguably be a bigger move than changing the character’s skin colour. Regardless, Elba is a fantastic and popular actor who would definitely put the series in a new context if he were to be cast. Maybe that’s just what the franchise needs after the tepid Spectre?
A less ‘street’ alternative could be Chiwetel Ejiofor, another terrific actor who’s been turning in fantastic performances for years. He impressed in 12 Years A Slave, The Martian and Triple 9 and he would maintain the posher aspects that the character is known for. He is currently signed up for Doctor Strange as Baron Mordo so heavy involvement in the MCU could either block out his calendar or make him a household name. It’s a tough call.
Can you imagine the uproar? It almost doesn’t bear thinking about. But it could be worth it to bring one of the most badass Brits in film to this iconic role. Blunt has shown she can handle intense action after her impressive work in Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario, and she has transatlantic appeal to go with her acting chops. The outrage would be immense, but never let that be a reason for not casting a talented actress who would offer so much to the series. Just like casting a black Bond, a female Bond would reimagine the role in so many key ways and revitalise a stagnant franchise. Maybe she’s just what it needs.