As British as a crowned Stephen Fry riding a lion through Piccadilly circus while sipping tea and frowning at the weather. James Bond is a national treasure, like most treasures it has hit the aging process and some parts of it have suffered from rust and lie tarnished. Other aspects of this cinematic treasure such as the jewels of style and special effects. have been polished up bright enough to melt the face of any passer by. I have had a mixed experience with the more modern Bonds ranging from the gleefully simplistic Casino Royale to the brain-curdling, putrid mess that was Spectre. As a child these films had an effect on me and most film lovers and for better or worse a new Bond film impacts society, and i and many others will always see the latest spy adventure whether we look forward to it or not. The franchise and it’s tradition carries weight, much like the Doctor Who series the crowning of a new Bond is an event swirling in legacy and mythos crafted over decades. The casting draws possibly more of the public interest than even the product itself.
Like Christmas games of Monopoly that burn bridges and destroy couples. Or family portraits where Mum violently forces a smile from you all, Bond films are inexplicably an important tradition and enjoyment is sometimes besides the point. As Daniel Craig shuffles uncertainly off the uneven stage of his muddled era we look to the horizon as another tortured, suave yet oddly gritty and patriotic super spy emerges from the distance set against a sunrise of anticipation. Who will be the next to swill a martini, destroy a car worth more than a human’s soul or seduce an exotic and possibly deadly woman? The next actor to don the heavy mantle of the black cocktail suit, stitched together with expectation of the public. Here we will look at possible ideas for a Bond befitting the new generation.
The Bookies Choice- Tom Hiddlestone
The beloved actor has rocked the world with his popular super villain and stayed credible with carefully chosen and ranging projects, such as Del Toro’s Crimson Peak and Hugh Laurie project The Night Manager. Hiddlestone definitely has the charm and acting chops, his passionate and dread-laced speech to Black Widow in Avengers Assemble showed he can raise the bar in even the most fantasy of settings. Playing heroes to aspire to and villains we can’t help but love, Hiddlestone has shown an impressive magnetism causing people to either love him or want to be like him. Whether Hiddlestone could translate well to the more gritty style of Bond fisticuffs would be interesting, but he seems like the complete package wrapped lovingly in a alcohol drenched Union Jack. Some bookies have stopped taking bets on our Tom as he seems such a sure thing, heading truly for the big stage Hiddlestone may not be able to keep things ‘Loki’ for much longer…..i’m sorry.
My Choice- Dan Stevens
Just watch The Guest. I rest my case. This English actor enjoyed time on Downton Abbey, A Walk Among The Tombstones, Night At The Museum and is set to appear across from Emma Watson as the apparently lovable, clawed, cursed kidnapper in Beauty and the Beast. Stevens may not be a household name but in The Guest he showcases an irresistible charm, the comedy timing of a clown-god and the action abilities of gun loaded with steroid bullets. All this tied together with a lacy bow of sex appeal. Getting weird yet? This talented individual can keep the modern gritty feel alive but with enough smooth attitude to keep the traditionally tongue in cheek feel. Just like with Clive Owen i doubt they will take the chance, and much like one of Bond’s girls our hero leaves behind we will be stuck wondering what if?
The Bold Choice- David Oyelowo
I was devastated when Idris Elba ruled himself out stating he would love to be Bond but didn’t want to be “the first black Bond”. This is a shame as his talent and popularity would have been ideal to pave an important yet sadly brave path. Casting a Bond of any colour except white will unfortunately always draw it’s critics of casting “just to make a point”, so we need a truly brilliant actor to dispel any questions of this. David Oyelowo has range for days making his mark in successful films such as Lincoln, Selma, Jack Reacher and The Last King Of Scotland, as well as showing his vocal and comedic traits in Robot Chicken and the suprisingly successful Star Wars: Rebels. casting a black James Bond would be a hugely positive step i feel, and Oyelowo could rejuvenate the franchise with his charisma and proven passion.
The Overdue Choice- Chiwetel Ejiofor
Not overdue specifically for Bond this Oscar nominated actor just deserves recognition with more roles in general. Acting jobs should be showered upon him like McDonald vouchers, with directors offering him their firstborn child for 5 minutes of his precious presence on their unworthy film sets. Sadly Chiwetel is not a spring chicken anymore and the shadowy figures behind the flickering lights of the faltering Bond series, will likely want a younger investment. Ejiofor may yet again be another missed opportunity. Grabbing the attention of cult fans with his sterling and understated performance as the villainous ‘Operative’ in Serenity, Chiwetel also starred in Kinky Boots, Children Of Men and Martian. Obviously though it was his heart wrenching turn in 12 Years A Slave that showed the world they should take notice of his every word and action vaguely in the vicinity of a functioning camera. His role in the future Doctor Strange, also gives him another chance to win over the comic devouring masses with Benedict Cumberpatch. Ejiofor also has the skill and gifts to spearhead a more diverse step into the world of James Bond, but will he get his chance to carry a franchise after all this time?
The Goode Choice- Matthew Goode
As pointed out In Rich Jepson’s beautifully fawning article, Matthew Goode would indeed be a strong choice. His simmering performance in the resoundingly disappointing The Watchmen was a rare Oasis of entertainment in an otherwise desolate, dessert of searing boredom. The Imitation Game showed his screen presence to a larger audience and the sleeper hit Stoker broadcast his creepy talent for blisteringly quiet intensity. This feels like it would be a disappointment to most wanting a bigger name, but i have no doubt Goode would win the public around with his resounding talent and unquestionable style.
Read Rich’s piece on Matthew Goode’s chances at being Bond below.
The People’s Choice- Tom Hardy
The man more popular than a bank holiday. Tom Hardy could method act as a distressed and tortured slipper with a dark past and we would be totally engrossed. Hardy showed in legend that he can save an otherwise average film, and as an actor he has more range than the voice of a eunuch choirboy. His turn as Bane showed a willingness to do the blockbusters and i would argue he was the better actor in the Revenant by a long way…an even longer way that Di Caprio’s character panted and gasped his way along. The acting pride of Britain, Hardy puts as much effort into the few scenes he steals during Peaky Blinders as he does on the silver screen. And his lovable down to earth methods of presenting himself have endeared him to the English people to a rapturous degree, like if Patrick Stewart and Mary Berry somehow led the England Football team to world cup glory. Hardy has shown his disinterest at this role and as much as i rate him as an outstanding actor of our time i must admit i am relieved. Despite his talent i feel the confining nature of the character and the schedule of the films would misdirect his abilities from other projects, and he would be a safe choice instead of doing something bold with the Bondfranchise.
The Inspiring Choice- Damian Lewis
A true story of hard work in fast lane to fame society. Damian Lewis has ground out impressive performances across every shape and size of screen but until Homeland this went largely unnoticed. Lewis made us laugh as the musical manager of the Beckhams in Alistair McGowen’s Big Impression, and he inspired our aching hearts in the beautifully grim war series Band Of Brothers. In Keane Damian acted in every scene and chipped away at our imaginations with his character’s frayed and jagged sanity. This was way before he was wrapped in a star spangled shroud of patriotic mystery in the breathtakingly successful Homeland, or shuffling metal chess pieces against Paul Giamatti in Billions. At one point his inclusion would have been as surprising as them casting the presenters of Loose Women to play a collective James Bond. Now he would still be a surprising choice choice in this race, but the very talented Englishman has garnered well deserved support from his success in America. Maybe hard work can pay off.
Who would you like to see? Who did i miss out or forget? Whoever is chosen to defend Queen and country the burden will not be light but the limelight will be. In the right hands this could bring this beloved character into brave new strengths and memorable adventures of originality. Or we could be doomed to another era of intermittent and unreliable satisfaction, leaning far too heavily on a wavering, fast fading memory of a man we used to love.