Jack O’Connnell (25)
Breaking out in the last two years, O’Connell has proven his worth in outstanding lead roles in Starred Up and ’71. But these indicate a rougher side to Bond. Could O’Connell play the classy casino-gambling agent? It’s a bit of a leap of faith to consider whether producers want to switch to a younger lad who can be tied into the series for more than four films; though it is something more than possible when Marvel sign actors up for 9 films at a time…
Richard Madden (29)
Robb Stark is missed. A leader and bold force among the Starks of Winterfell in Game of Thrones, his departure was a shock because he was so convincing. Sean Connery was 32 in Dr No, so by the time the next movie arrives, Madden will be there too. As Prince Charming in Cinderella and a con artist in Bastille Day, he has the classy edge balanced with a bit of rough. It’s almost as if he’s been preparing for the iconic role…
Kit Harington (29)
While we’re talking Game of Thrones, let’s consider the bastard Jon Snow. Same age as Madden, and with some super spying already on his CV after Spooks: The Greater Good. Without the beard and long hair, he could reinvent himself entirely and become a long-running James Bond for the future. But his young age again could be problematic – every James Bond since Roger Moore has been at least 40 in their first respective 007 film. But then again, Timothy Dalton was considered at the age of 22.
Michael Fassbender (39)
The perfect age. Fassbender can be elegant (Playing an affluent New Yorker in Shame) but he can be a scruffy brawler too. If his gun-toting Magneto in X-Men: First Class is his audition tape, I’m sold. But Fassbender doesn’t need Bond. Fassbender is Steve Jobs. Fassbender is Macbeth. James Bond doesn’t need a name-actor; he is the name. He’d be a great choice but Fassbender would probably turn it down. But, Roger Moore had already been a huge success before Live and Let Die so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Clive Owen (51)
For a long time, he was the front runner. After Die Another Day, it was Owen who would often be touted as the likely newcomer. Don’t forget, Brosnan was considered for The Living Daylights and Timothy Dalton was considered multiple times before taking the role in his 40’s. But Owen is in his fifties and, unless producers are desperate to see his version, it’s unlikely they’ll drop Daniel Craig for an older actor.
Henry Cavill (33)
As with Timothy Dalton, Cavill was under serious consideration at the age of 22 (something that also supports the potential of all those twenty-something actors). Now his Man of Steel run has hit an awkward pit-stop, it may be the chance to not-so subtly move towards a different franchise. Man from U.N.C.L.E. seemed to be his audition and many were sold. But do we really want the same actor leading both Superman and James Bond? Buses and billboards with the same square-jawed mug all over them? I think not.
Daniel Radcliffe (26)
Radcliffe is proudly British. He’s handled a strong series already and, as an adult without glasses and that funny Gryffindor gown, he could be reinvented. Bulk him up, restyle his hair and it is an incredibly exciting prospect to imagine Radcliffe Mk.2 in the long-term role of 007. But he’s so young that the entire Bond character would have to change. With “James Bond Begins” already captured so well in Casino Royale, why would we need this reboot again?
Damian Lewis (45)
A strong contender in the pre-Daniel Craig days, his auburn hair brings a change in appearance slightly. But if Bond can be blonde, he can also be ginger. Recently, his odds also improved at the bookies, suspiciously. Lewis showed-off his acting chops in the brutal Band of Brothers and he continued to toy with arresting military figures in the long-running series, Homeland. A military background is essential but, like Owen, he may have missed the boat. Then again, 45 isn’t 50 and if the producers are keen to see Lewis don the tux for two films, this could work.
Dominic West (46)
Again, an older interpretation may be unlikely, but West has the theatrical experience that proves his worth. As McNulty in The Wire, he can play rough and down-to-earth. In Money Monster, he was the owner of a billion-dollar company. West, like Lewis and Owen, was perfect but the age remains an issue. It really depends on how much Broccoli and Wilson may have wanted him in the past – and whether it suits the direction they’re moving in. Remember, Roger Moore was 46 in Live and Let Die.