Who Will Be the Next James Bond?

Who will be the next James Bond? No one was too shocked when Pierce Brosnan was cast in GoldenEye but few would have seen Daniel Craig eventually replacing him. Timothy Dalton was by no measure the high profile number one heir apparent in 1985 when Roger Moore hung up his Walther PPK. The danger with this guessing game is that viable candidates under the microscope are gradually replaced by new contenders. A particular actor you had in mind might get too old for the part before it comes around again. Or he might not be interested anyway. Then you have the X-Factor of Barbara Broccoli. Heaven knows who is on her radar.
Of the actors who auditioned or were touted for the part in Casino Royale, few are mentioned now. Sam Worthington, Goran Višnjić and Alex O'Loughlin are in their forties. Julian McMahon and Hugh Jackman are nearly fifty. The only two actors considered for Casino Royale still realistically in the frame are Henry Cavill and Rupert Friend.
Cavill is in his early thirties and it's no secret that he would still love to be Bond. He seemed the natural successor when Daniel Craig's tenure began but has drifted out of contention. Cavill's role as Superman is a factor. Eon might be reluctant to have a Bond actor already affiliated with another iconic character. It hasn't helped Cavill that he's only required to scowl and mope in Zack Snyder's films. The groundswell for Cavill to be Bond has diminished. You can get 33-1 on him with some bookmakers. The reports from Casino Royale's production indicate it was Martin Campbell who wanted Cavill. We don't know what Barbara Broccoli (the person who has the keys to the franchise and makes the final decision) thinks of Cavill.
Rupert Friend is 35. His action man role in Homeland has made him a regular proposition for the next Bond and he read for Casino Royale. Friend has some time on his side and appears someone you might consider again. In spite of this, it's hard to detect any traction for Friend playing Bond. Some oddsmakers have him at 50-1 and, unlike Cavill, he never seems to talk about the role. Friend took himself out of the casting process for Casino Royale because he felt he was too young. It's possible that he simply doesn't fancy the part and the media circus that comes with it.
The two actors who play the Hugh Jackman and Clive Owen roles at the moment, which is to say they are assumed to be duking it out to be the next James Bond, are Tom Hiddleston and Aidan Turner. We have to remember that neither Jackman nor Owen became James Bond. It's possible that Hiddleston and Turner will also lose out to someone less well known than they are. One advantage Hiddleston and Turner do have is they seem more enthusiastic about the part than Jackman and Owen were.
Turner has triangulated his comments on Bond carefully. He's eager not to blab on about a part before anyone offers it to him. Hiddleston has taken a different approach. He's endlessly blabbed on about Bond. He's interested and enjoys being connected to it. "I simply love the theme tune, the tropes and the mythology. I love the whole thing. If it ever came knocking, it would be an extraordinary opportunity. And I’m very aware of the physicality of the job. I would not take it lightly."
There were unconfirmed reports in the first half of 2016 that Hiddleston had shot a screen test and been offered the part but the stories suggesting he is the next Bond have gone very cold of late. Hiddleston would be the biggest star to take the role. His part as Loki in the Marvel universe has given him exposure and he's a talented, busy and in demand film actor. There didn't seem to be much buzz linking Hiddleston to Bond until he played a spy in the television miniseries The Night Manager. The Night Manager kick-started the speculation.

Aidan Turner experienced a similar phenomenon when he played the cold hearted Philip Lombard in the three part Agatha Christie television serial And Then There Were None. Turner spent a lot of time in a tuxedo and looked as if he'd waltzed out of the pages of an Ian Fleming novel. Turner's lead romantic hero in the BBC series Poldark was enough alone to have people throwing him forward as a potential Bond. Turner could have the right blend of charm and danger to make the role his own.
Jack Huston, an English actor in his early thirties, always seems at the short end of odds for the next Bond. Huston played Richard Harrow in the HBO television drama series Boardwalk Empire and is moving into films. He had a supporting part in American Hustle but the failure of the Ben-Hur remake (in which Huston got top billing) suggested that he wasn't Russell Crowe for a new generation.
Another actor of around the same age attracting James Bond speculation is James Norton. Norton has been primarily a British television actor, earning good reviews for roles in Happy Valley, Grantchester and War & Peace. Whereas Huston is dark haired and has an old fashioned (if cheesy) matinee idol look, Norton is red haired and a less obvious James Bond contender.
Idris Elba has been endlessly linked to the part of Bond for years. It's not so much his skin but his age that makes these stories easy to dismiss. Elba is only four years younger than Daniel Craig. He's already too old to be a serious candidate. Michael Fassbender, like Elba, seems to be in half the films released each year. Fassbender is nearly ten years younger than Daniel Craig and could still take the role but they would have to move very fast. The window is closing.
Fassbender would be the most talented actor ever signed to play the part and for this reason some fans have always kept a flame for him. His roles as the suave Lieutenant Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds and Magneto in the sixties set Bond influenced X-Men: First Class were glimpses of how easily Fassbender could play Bond. Fassbender is a very long shot though and seems to have ruled himself out in his last interviews. 
Tom Hardy is another actor held in high regard who seems to be in nearly every film that comes out. Hardy has said he'd love to be Bond and would 'smash it out of the park' if he got the role. He's the same age as Michael Fassbender and doesn't have time on his side. Hardy is charismatic and talented but short and stocky like Craig. It might make sense to go back to a more traditional Bond actor to emphasise that a fresh wave of films has begun.

A dark horse could be Dan Stevens. Stevens was the pudgy actor in costume dramas until he shed weight and played a convincing and dangerous action man in the thriller The Guest. Stevens seems like an actor with enough intelligence to bring something to the table. Charlie Hunnam is a more puzzling inclusion in next Bond lists. His lead role in Pacific Rim didn't inspire confidence in his charisma or leading man qualities.
Jamie Bell, the now grown up star of Billy Elliot, is alleged to have spoken to Barbara Broccoli to discuss playing Bond. Bell would be as bizarre a choice as Daniel Craig. Theo James, who acted in the Divergent Series, seems to be the new Orlando Bloom of next Bond gossip. A dull pretty boy with no chance at all of being cast.
Who are we left with? There's Tom Hughes, a 30 year old actor who looks like a toothy public schoolboy. Hughes has been linked to the part more than once. Sam Riley has been festering under the radar for a while now since playing Ian Curtis in Control without ever quite breaking out and becoming a star. Riley has been mentioned as a Bond contender and has quite an interesting look. At 37 years old he won't have time on his side for much longer.
Welsh actor Luke Evans is always supposed to be on some mythical shortlist. Evans seems well liked but looks too generic and spiv (always that wisp of a mustache) to be James Bond. A name to watch might be Nicholas Hoult, who plays Beast in the X Men films. Hoult is in his late twenties, handsome, dark haired, and seems like a capable actor willing to take risks (War Boy Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road). Maybe with a few more years of maturity he could grow into a convincing potential 007. Just don't bet money on him or anyone in particular getting the part. You never quite know who is really on the radar.
- GH

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