Riz Ahmed (33)
Born in London, Riz Ahmed has already broken into the mainstream and 2016 will become a year you’ll see much more of him. Appearing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Jason Bourne, the world will know his name as a strong supporting actor. Of course, picking actors who are consistently strong in supporting roles is a nice way to choose a non-name James Bond. Ahmed played a smartly-dressed, smooth talker in Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna and it’s unfortunate his action skills weren’t showcased in Jason Bourne. But he’ll have learnt from Matt Damon I hope. Maybe this would be the welcome change James Bond needs…
John Boyega (24)
Yes, he’s locked into Star Wars: Episode VIII (and many, many more instalments), but he’s such a lovely chap. Rather than the clumsy and worried Stormtrooper, as Bond he could shake off these shackles and be a man of strength and conviction. It’d be a John Boyega we’ve never seen, but one I’m sure many would pay to see happen. But, akin to Henry Cavill, do we really want so many films advertised with Boyega dominating the posters?
Jack Reynor (24)
He’s a young lad with experience of enormous blockbusters after appearing in Transformers: Age of Extinction (and contracted for two more). His Irish roots, means he’ll be akin to Brosnan taking on the role. With a scene-stealing performance in Sing Street, there is a sense that Reynor will become the Irish version of Chris Pratt. That is surely an actor you’d want with the Walther PPK.
Taron Edgerton (26)
He’s already shown us how he is more than capable of dressing well, combatting henchmen and playing with gadgets in Kingsman. Let’s be honest, Kingsman is ‘James Bond: First Class’. Considering how successful the film was, Edgerton switching over to James Bond may be a dream come true. There was a time Jeremy Renner was in Bourne, Mission Impossible and The Avengers. Edgerton playing a secret agent in two series is not out of this world. Not to mention how it was Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake that led Daniel Craig to Casino Royale. Could it Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman that leads Edgerton onto the Pinewood studio floor?
Rooney Mara (31)
This girl has class. She played the innocent waif in Carol last year and broke into the big time via David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opposite current-Bond, Daniel Craig. Maybe they discussed it? She could easily pull off disguises and be calm and collected under pressure. At 31, by the time any film would feature her, she’d be 33 and perfectly poised to be the undercover agent assassin. A brave move maybe, and a shock with an American taking the role, but it’s always worth a shot.
Eddie Redmayne (34)
A Cambridge-educated, ex-model and Oscar winner, if James Bond wants to amp up the sophisticated edge, this is the way to do it. At 34, it maybe younger than usual, but it’d hook him into the series for multiple films and ensure that his talents aren’t wasted in any more dismal roles such as The Danish Girl and Jupiter Ascending. Problem is, he’s in the next world-of-Harry-Potter-movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I also wonder whether he could really pull off the action scenes. In thirty years, he might make a good M.
Matthew Goode (38)
Whenever Goode is on screen, you know about it. He’s not even alive during A Single Man, yet his relationship with Colin Firth is heartbreaking. He’s a dashing man and between Downton Abbey and The Imitation Game, it’s clear that Goode is ‘good’ (badum-tish!) at playing the British Gentleman. But Bond needs more than a tuxedo to defeat Spectre and looking smart is only one of many double-O expectations.
Dan Stevens (33)
Another Downton Abbey alumni, Stevens has the piercing eyes to strike fear into a villainous henchman. His ambiguous role in The Guest proves how he has the skill to bury darker demons beneath a calm and collected exterior. At 33, it is possible he’s a little too young and he’s yet to prove he is capable of the role. But if we’re going to consider twenty-somethings, then Stevens would be a fine choice.
Daniel Craig (48)
He’s only 48! He’s had two terrific adventures in Casino Royale and Skyfall. Their success was down to his interpretation of the role. Casino Royale was the beginning. Quantum of Solace resolved the Vesper plot. Skyfall rebooted the MI6 base and Spectre renewed his arch nemesis, Blofeld. Can’t we just have one, clear cut, fun, adventure? He may have said that he’d rather slit his wrists than appear as James Bond again and The Daily Fail has claimed he’s already turned down the fifth film. But, it’s not confirmed so he can always pick up that Walther PPK again.
Who would you like to see as the next James Bond? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…
Simon Columb – Follow me on Twitter