I have to confess, I am not a big fan of the Bond franchise. I have seen all twenty three of the franchises' films but never fell in love with the character or his gadgets like many other boys did, give me Snake Plissken over James Bond. But I did lap up Martin Campbell's Casino Royale which seemed to be taking the traditional character of Bond in a different direction and than Quantium of Solace happened and no one was quite sure how any managed to write, direct, produce and edit that film without realising how god damn awful it was. All was redeemed however with Sam Mendes' Skyfall which went onto become Bond's biggest ever earner. For me Skyfall was a step in the right direction but I didn't love it as much as the rest of the world. So while I admit I am not a massive Bond fan I am intrigued and interested to see where the franchise will go when Craig inevitably steps down. So when recent news broke about the likes of Damian Lewis and Idris Elba being bookies favourites to take over the role, along with endless online speculation, I was intrigued and interested once more so I thought I would write up who I thought should and shouldn't be up for the role.
Luke Evans is one of those actors on the cusp of becoming massive, all he needs is that one big film role and soon enough everyone will know who he is. While Evans has been in big blockbusters like Fast and Furious Six, the first two The Hobbit films and last year's Dracula Untold, as well as being set to play Gaston in the live action remake of The Beauty and the Beast these aren't roles that will make him a household name. He feels, to me anyway, an actor who could be cast in any role Marvel or DC have coming up in the future, so the part of Bond seems like a no brainer. Evans has pretty much everything needed to play Bond, he has the look, charm and the acting talent. Need I say more?
JACK O' CONNELL
A few years ago if you told people you reckon Jack O'Connell could be up for the role of Bond they probably would have said "what that mouthy kid from Skins?". But fast forward to 2015 and the Derby born actor has put in some phenomenal performances in Starred Up, '71 and Unbroken, the less said about 300: Rise of an Empire the better. He has proven himself as an actor who can perform on the big stage, so why not give him a chance as Bond? His age wouldn't be an issue, while he is currently twenty four when Craig passes on in 2022, O'Connell will be thirty one which would be around the right age to start a career as an MI6 agent. You could have the first O'Connell Bond finishing his career as a Royal Navy Commander into his first job as a 00' agent.
Some may have an issue with the actor's strong northern twang but he has already proven he can do an American accent in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken. You could even keep O'Connell's accent and rather than having Bond as a posh school boy, reboot him as a smart but rebellious kid who made it into Private school based on brains. While it would be a departure from the original text but it would set the new film apart from past films. O'Connell has already been on Hollywood's radar when he recently narrowly missed out on the role of Reeds Richards in Josh Trank's The Fantastic Four being pitted to the post by Miles Teller. O'Connell is one of Britain's brightest young talents, the people clearly love him as he won BAFTA's Rising Star award which is voted by the public, so with Britain behind him and the likes of Angelina Jolie impressed by the young actor, the franchise could have its first Northern Bond.
Two words, The Guest. Before last year everyone knew Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley from the world's favourite period drama, Downtown Abbey but thanks to Adam Wingard's excellent slice of action/horror Stevens' career got a serious jab of adrenaline. The Guest starred Stevens as David an ex-Army solider who wins over the family of a deceased friend but it soon becomes clear something is quite right about David. Cue one of last year's best films and a bar fight scene to revel at. It may be a little apprehensive of me to assume Stevens can take on the role of Bond due to one role, which has been his only action role so far, but he was completely convincing as the super solider gone wrong. His role in Downtown Abbey would do him favours with the American crowd who assume all British people sit around sipping tea in stately home gardens. Sub-sequentially he read the Casino Royale audio book back in 2007, so even if he doesn't get the chance to be Bond the big screen at lease his got that, I suppose.
Hughes is set for success thanks to great turns in the likes of BBC dramas Silk and The Game, so we've already seen what he can do as a spy. As well as roles in the severely underrated Cemetery Junction and BBC thriller Page Eight, where he starred alongside the M, Ralph Fiennes. While he may not be the house hold name you might expect to get cast as Bond, neither was Craig back in 2005 when he was confirmed as the new 00' agent. It'd be interesting to see the producers cast a relative unknown in the role, who unlike the likes of Michael Fassbender or Idris Elba wouldn't have the burden of baggage from past roles.
Before his turn in teenage drama Skins, Nicholas Hoult was famous for his adorable role in About a Boy as the goofy hat wearing, badly rapping Marcus but the British actor has done a lot of growing up since with roles in the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road and the rebooted X-Men franchise. During his recent press tour for Mad Max, Hoult stated his interest in playing Bond, saying:"I think I'm too young! He's (Daniel's) got his film and then one more to go, hasn't he? I'll only be 30, and I think I'd need another few years behind me to play Bond. Maybe a little further down the road, who knows? I mean, I grew up loving James Bond." While Hoult admits to possibly being too young for the role post-Craig, if the producers wanted to go for a young Bond Hoult would be a great actor to pick. While he hasn't done as much as action as some of the other actors on this list, hopefully we will see his Beast get more to do in X-Men: Apocalypse, he has definitely showed he has the acting chops to take on the role of Bond.
Harry Treadaway is another relatively unknown, unless you are a fan of Penny Dreadful or managed to catch last year's excellent Honeymoon, but like I have mentioned before Craig was not the household name he has become, so ruling out actors because they are not known may be unwise. Harry Treadaway, not to get confused with his twin brother The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time star Luke, already has links with Bond starring in Penny Dreadful with former Bond Timothy Dalton and former Bond girl, Eva Green. Hanging around an ex-Bond can only be doing the young actor favours. As well, the Exeter born actor has shown what he can offer in the role of Dr. Frankenstein in Sky's television series Penny Dreadful and no doubt the film roles will start rolling in for him soon. If the writers do opt to go for the more traditional middle/upper class background they have done before Treadaway could easily pull that off.
However, unlike the rest of the actors on this list he has yet to really break out into the mainstream. While he has had roles in the big blockbusters, The Long Ranger and City of Embers, as well as indies such as the Joy Division biopic Control and Fish Tank but he lacks the experience that may be needed taking on such a prestigious and popular franchise. But as I have said before if they plan on shooting the first new Bond in 2022, that would give the actor seven years to take on bigger, more stunt based, roles, if the producers saw something in him.
The Fass is the most obvious choice I have made on this list and for good reason. Michael Fassbender is one of, if not the, greatest actor of his generation. Having started his career in small roles in the likes of Zack Snyder's 300, Band of Brothers and Jonah Hex. It wasn't until he starred in the likes of Hunger, Fish Tank and Inglorious Basterds that the Irish actor broke into the mainstream, quickly becoming a fan and critic favourite. It is difficult to argue that Fassbender should take on the role of Bond once you see him as Magneto in both X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The role requires the actor to be suave, sophisticated and cruel with a fair few action set pieces thrown in. If you need any more convincing just watch First Class Argentina sequence and you will see what I mean.
Fassbender is an actor who directors want to keep working with, he has a great working relationship with Steve McQueen, who he worked with on Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave and Justin Kurzel, director of the upcoming Shakespeare adaptation Macbeth, may be signing up to helm the long awaited Assassin's Creed film. Need I say more?
When news broke that they were recasting the Ghostbusters team as all women, there was an out pour of disappointment from a vast majority of people who thought only men could take on the job of saving the world from ghosts. So, if a woman was ever cast as Bond than I am pretty sure Twitter would go into meltdown. But why should the role of Bond be played by just men? Okay, so the original literature is based around a male but adaptation allows for alternation. If the producers were ever going to cast a woman in the role, I am not calling her Jane Bond surely they can be more creative than that, than surely they only have on choice, Saorise Ronan. The twenty one year old Irish actress has starred in more films in her short career than most actors have had. She started acting in feature films in 2007 and since has gone on to working with directors such as Joe Wright (twice), Wes Anderson and Peter Weir, not to mention getting an Oscar nomination at the age of fourteen making her one of the youngest nominees ever. While the actress is only twenty one, making her the youngest on this list, when 2022 comes around Ronan will be twenty eight and will no doubt have an immense range of films added to her catalogue.
Despite having starred in some really duds like City of Ember and The Host, Ronan as always been the best thing about them and to my mind had never put a foot wrong in a single film, what actor could you say the same about? Her roles in the likes of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Byzantium and How I live Now are solid performances that cement her as the best young actress. She has proven her self again and again but it's her role in Joe Wright's Hanna that made me choose Ronan as potentially becoming the first ever female Bond. To prepare for the role of Hanna, a teenage assassin trained by her father to take down the CIA secret agents sent to eliminate her, Ronan undertook two months of rigorous training that included knife throwing, stick fighting, martial arts and how to shoot a gun. If you have seen the action scenes in Wright's film then you know the training paid off immensely with Ronan proving that it's not only the guys who get to kick ass. Despite having both the acting and action talent to take on the role, it will take a lot of convincing for people to come round to the idea of there being a female Bond and the producers may fear that such a change may alienate fans and after making one of the highest grossing films ever, they will no doubt want to attract as many fans as possible.
Henry Cavill is the luckiest unlucky person in Hollywood. Before he landed the iconic role of Superman in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel he had gone up for the role of Cedric Digory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he was included on a list of who could play Batman in Batman Begins, pitted to the post once more by Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen in Twilight having been deemed too old and was in the running to play Bond but producers opted to go for Craig, again deeming Cavill too young. But that was way back in the day now, Cavill is thirty two, a lot younger than Craig was when he was cast, so should Cavill be cast as Bond? In my opinion, no. For the simple reason the man cannot act. If producers want to compete with the likes of Jason Bourne, who lets be honest is the reason the Bond films have shifted tonely, than they will require an actor who has the talent and Cavill simply isn't up to the job, just watch him in Man of Steel The Cold Light of Day. Cavill is so wooden, he has to be weary of friction in case he sets alight. Its indisputable that the Jersey born actor has the looks to play the part and has that preppy boy look about him, the indisputable fact is he is a bad actor.
Before you sign a petition for me to get off the internet, hear me out. Hardy is an actor who has become famous for his Brando-esque style performances. He is excellent at playing quiet, brooding characters which doesn't feel like Bond. While Craig's Bond is a more subtle take on the agent, to go for the same again would feel like inability to adapt and may make the producers look like they are trying to hard to hang onto the formula that made Skyfall a billion pound film. Also throughout years of being specualted to take over the role, Hardy seems to have shown very little enthusiasm for doing so which makes you think does he even want it? Hardy's interest seem to be in the more acting heavy roles that allow him to take on challenges and really get to grips with the character he is portraying, which doesn't really stand out as what Bond is.
The Cosmopilis star is not an actor I would pick to take on the role of Bond but he appears on this list because he has cropped up on some other top five actors who could play Bond lists I have seen online. Many people dismiss Pattinson as an actor within seconds simply because of his turn as veggie vampire, Edward Cullen, in Twilight which seems to have tainted people's opinion of the actor. But if you look at the actors' post-Twilight you would see an actor who picks his films with precision and a clear determination to work with some of cinema's best talent. He has starred in two David Cronenberg films, the aforementioned Cosmopolis and last year's Map to the Stars, starred alongside Guy Pearce in the excellent The Rover, is set to star in Werner Herzog's latest Queen of the Desert and takes on the role of Dennis Stock, photographer and friend of Dane DeHann's James Dean. Not the roles who would of expected from a man who made his career in a teenage fan favourite.
I honestly think there is a Oscar winning performance in the actor but taking on the role of Bond is something I just cannot see. Pattinson has proved he has the acting talent to turn his hand to different roles, he lacks the action experience to take on a role such as Bond. As well, judging by his recent film choices, it doesn't feel like it's a role he would want to take on. He has already been attached to a massive franchise and now he is taking offers to work with prestigious directors and taking on more independent, art house films.
First things first, I do not have an issue with the producers someone casting a black actor has Bond, I very nearly put Chiwetel Ejiofor on my should list but he missed out for the same reasons I have put Elba in my shouldn't list. While he is at the top of many people's lists for who should be Bond after Craig, the simple fact is he is too old. Currently Elba is forty two, which is the same age Sean Connery stepped down as Bond, so by 2022 the actor would be fifty one which is far too old to start off as Bond.
Some people will no doubt argue that they could have Elba playing an older Bond, a secret agent who has spent a good few years as as a spy but we have seen that Danny Glover/Lethal Weapon too old for that shit before with Bond. It is the whole story arc of Craig's Bond. Throughout Skyfall many references, including a not very subtle metaphor using a Turner painting, were made to the agent's age and while it works for Craig's Bond to see it again would be boring. Craig is set to finish his time as Bond at around fifty four, having begun his time as Bond at the age of thirty eight. So if the same time scale applies to Elba he wouldn't be completing his stint as 007 till he was sixty one. And yes, Elba may not look forty but I highly doubt he will be a convincing agent when he is nearly of retirement age. I would love to see the Luther star take on the role as much as anyone else would but it's difficult to get past the actor's age.
Damian Lewis has recently thrown his hat into the Bond ring as news surfaced the a few weeks ago that the Homeland star would take over the role after Craig, due to a flurry of bets causing betting companies to slash odds. In the past Lewis lent his voice to Fleming's Diamonds are Forever and has joked that the character's Scottish heritage, featured in Skyfall, has paved the way for a red headed Bond. Jokes aside, Lewis has enough credentials to be Bond, having starred in the likes of Band of Brothers and Homeland but his film catalogue is less impressive. The actor has starred in a surprisingly small amount of films, only sixteen between 1997 to 2015 which include the likes of Stormbreaker, Your Highness and The Sweeney, not exactly what you would expect from a future Bond, especially when compared to the back catalogue of this list. It's not only his back catalogue that brings into question his casting as Bond but like Elba, his age would be a major factor. Lewis is currently forty four which makes him two years older than Elba and I have already explained why Elba's age would be a hindrance. Despite people running to the bookies to put bets on Lewis taking on Bond, I just can't see this casting choice being anything but rumour.