Simon Columb with 36 actors who could be the 007th James Bond…
Straight off the bat, we’ve got to be open-minded about what defines James Bond. I’d argue that James Bond needs to be have a smart, smooth presentation with a brawling, rough depth beneath the surface. The whole backstory needs to be buried in the character. He needs to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable in a tuxedo but to such a small extent that it carries the swagger that demands the attention of others in the room. There’s no particular figure, height, age or race that defines this presentation. Being a bit smarmy with the ladies is almost an expectation – especially as ‘Bond Girl’ is so rooted in the series. But, considering M was the Bond Girl in Skyfall, I can appreciate this may need a slight update. Nevertheless, a Jane Bond can’t be entirely off the table. Without further rambling, here are 36 actors who could, or at least should, be considered for the 007th incarnation of James Bond…
Tom Hiddleston (35)
Classy in a sharp suit with a set of pearly whites that make many swoon. Safe enough in the age-range, his dashing demeanour and classically trained experience puts him at the top. Birth.Movies.Death even claimed an exclusive confirmation that he’s in final talks with producers. But, his posture is a little gangly. A minor quibble perhaps but if Broccoli and Wilson are considering a dramatic change to the formula, then a thinner guy is hardly a ground-breaking shift with tradition.
Idris Elba (43)
Preferred by Spielberg, Elba is an enormous chap at 6ft 2ins, towering over Daniel Craig. But, prior to Craig, every 007 was at least 6ft so his height may be an expectation. Charming and built for action movies, his 43 years is a little older but his likeability and scene-stealing presence (proved in The Wire) mean he’s perfect. But playing a drug-dealer, guardian in Asgard (Thor) or a rough cop (Luther) hardly screams James Bond. He’d have to be a mighty smart gentleman to weave unnoticed in those swanky casinos and big villain hideouts.
Jack Huston (33)
After an exceptional role in Boardwalk Empire, as the one-eyed vet Richard Harrow, Huston would be an ideal choice. Part of the famous Huston family (his aunt is Anjelica, father is Tony Huston and grandfather is John Huston), he is British born and, at 33, would be a younger choice for the esteemed secret agent. But as of today, the rumour is that Huston has pipped Hiddleston to the iconic role…
Aiden Turner (33)
Funnily enough, bets suddenly sky-rocketed for Turner in recent months due to a few rogue high bets that are suspected to reveal someone knows something we don’t. An Irish actor, he’d follow in the footsteps of Brosnan and, after a somewhat minor role in The Hobbit trilogy, he’d clearly manage the heavy weight of the Bond series. But, as the lead in BBC’s Poldark, it is unlikely he’ll have time to be the suave spy as, before the second season has even aired, a third series was announced last month for the future.
Luke Evans (37)
He had a slew of plump roles in recent years between The Hobbit trilogy and Fast & Furious 6, but then after the dismal effort of Dracula Untold, his credibility has somewhat stumbled. He’s closer to the 40-years that Daniel Craig was before and, handling roles in enormous franchises can only be a virtue. Again, like Craig, he has his roots in the theatre and was brought up in London. 007 needs the air of class that Evans holds.
James Norton (31)
James Norton, for all his efforts, is known for his British roles. Between TV-roles in Grantchester and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Norton’s exploits into cinema seem to be similar, well-spoken characters in An Education and Mr Turner. Considering James Bond has to have a rough edge, Norton’s young age in combination with his lack of action-roles definitely goes against him. But it was Norton whose odds were up when Aiden Turner’s Poldark was commissioned a further series.
Ed Skrein (33)
Skrein made a bold choice. After winning the role of Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones, he vanished after a few episodes, only to be replaced by a different actor in the following season. Turns out, he was handed the reigns to a reboot of Jason Statham’s Transporter series in The Transporter Refueled. He was also the big bad (but surprisingly dull) villain, Francis, in the box-office smash, Deadpool. As it’s unlikely he’ll re-emerge in the X-Men universe, I suspect Skrein’s calender is free. Being James Bond may be the only justification for pulling out of the most successful TV series of all-time.
Jamie Bell (30)
Jamie Bell has been rumoured to have had discussions with producers, placing him right up there with Elba and Hiddleston. No more the little lad in Billy Elliot, he has never been so popular after landing lead roles in Fantastic Four and The Adventures of Tintin. Though it was hardly Bell’s fault, Fantastic Four royally flopped and his 30-years-old age (George Lazenby was the same age) may be considered too young for the role.
Emilia Clarke (29)
Could the Mother of Dragons be the Holder of Guns? She personally threw her hat in the ring and, at 29, she is perhaps a little too young. Roger Moore in Live and Let Die, and every James Bond actor afterwards has been at least 40. But Clarke has the presence and stature to take on any man, as evidenced in her dragon-taming and Dothraki-leading on Game of Thrones. After playing Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys too, it’s clear that playing a gun-wielding bad-ass, is very much in her genes.