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The release of the next James Bond adventure, Spectre, is fast approaching and fans are eagerly anticipating the 24th movie in the series. The previous entry in the series Skyfall was the biggest Bond film to date, earning over a billion dollars at the box-office and a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Daniel Craig’s tenure as Bond has been a triumph, Casino Royale and Skyfall are two of the most successful movies in the series and hailed for revitalizing the franchise. But at the age of 47, there are many that consider Craig’s time in the series as coming to an end with either Spectre or “Bond 25” set to be his last. Craig recently said in an interview with Time Out magazine that he would ‘rather slash my wrists than play James Bond again’.
Speculation on who Craig’s successor would be is rising, so let us look at some actors who would be worthy to don the tux.
Henry Cavill was once dubbed the most unlucky man in Hollywood, missing on the Batman, Superman and James Bond roles in 2005 and 2006. Cavill was in the final running to play Bond for Casino Royale, being on the short list with Daniel Craig and Sam Worthington. He was Martin Campbell’s (the director of Casino Royale) preferred choice for the role, but the producers choose Craig partly because they felt Cavill was too young: he was 22 at the time.
Since then, Cavill has earned the Superman role for the 2013 reboot and when interviewed by Empire Magazine confessed he would like to take over the Bond role when Craig steps down. We already have had a glimpse of what Cavill’s Bond could look in Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. As Napoleon Solo, Cavil was a suave, charismatic womanizer who enjoys the finer things in life. But because of his Superman role, Cavill currently has a very bulky physique and Bond is usually leaner.
Chiwetel Ejiofor CBE is an acclaimed actor on the stage and screen, he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 12 Years a Slave and appeared in Children of Men, American Gangster and as the charismatic villain of Serenity The Operative. He is an actor who has paid his dues and deserves an opportunity to lead a major movie. He was even considered to play the villain in the upcoming Spectre.
Ejiofor is a fantastic actor on the stage and screen and would be an excellent fit to play Bond; he has played well spoken characters, the morally ambiguous The Operative was one of the most interesting villains in recent history, shown his fighting prowess in Redbelt and looks good in a suit. Ejiofor has often played characters who are calm and collected, excellent for when Bond is in the field, undercover or under fire. But he has also shown his emotional range throughout his career, ready if he needs to delve deeper into Bond’s turmoil.
Hackney lad Idris Elba has long been a fan favorite to become James Bond and become the first black Bond. His odds by bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill are 4:1 and during the Sony e-mail leak it was revealed that executives have considered him to replace Daniel Craig as the agent with a licence to kill.
Elba is a big star in Britain, leading the critically acclaimed police procedural drama Luther on the BBC and has been a star on television and film. Elba’s big break came when he played the drug kingpin Russell “Stringer” Bell in The Wire and he has appeared in movies like American Gangster, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Pacific Rim.
Elba has a naturally broad frame, fitting for action roles and his public persona contains a suave coolness to him. He easily looks good in an expensive suit. But at 42-years-old Elba already looks older than his age suggests and let’s be frank, Elba’s ethnicity will upset some people, though some people may see that as a bonus. There is still hostility to Craig as Bond and the website Daniel Craig is not James Bond still exists, somehow.
Born in Germany and raised in Ireland by German and Irish parents, Michael Fassbender is one of the best actors of his generation. He is a native English and German speaker and being bilingual would add a bonus to playing Bond.
Fassbender has had an Academy Award nomination, won two British Independent Film Awards for Best Actor and has been nominated for numerous other awards. Fassbender has long been a candidate by fans to be the next James Bond, his odds at the time of publication of this article are 7:1 with William Hill. He is my personal top choice for the role.
Known for his rugged good looks and chiseled physique, Fassbender has had great success in serious roles in movies like Hunger and Shame and been in action roles in 300 and the X-Men series. The man meets the requirements for the Bond role. Fassbender has played many dark and intense characters, which would make him a great fit for the Daniel Craig mode of Bond and has a dark sexuality about him in Fish Tank and Shame. Fassbender has also shown he has a sense of humor, starring in the 2014 comedy-drama Frank as an eccentric musician who keeps his face behind a papier-mâché Frank Sidebottom head.
But Fassbender has already played Magneto in a major franchise and is set to lead a movie adaptation of Assassin’s Creed, so it raises the question – would he want to another action role?
Tom Hardy is often a fan favorite for the Bond role and he is an actor who has proven himself time and again in dramatic and action roles. Hardy has already played Bane and Max Rockatansky in The Dark Knight Rises and Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as appearing in Christopher Nolan’s Inception. He has recently been declared the favorite to replace Daniel Craig as Bond.
Born and raised in London, Hardy has a great filmography behind him and though he has played hard-edged characters he is actually from a well off background, attending private school in the British capital. He can combine those attitudes to play the famous spy. Hardy has always been a physical actor, he has a natural broad frame and he can easily gain the muscle, whether being huge in Bronson and The Dark Knight Rises or having a more athletic physique in Warrior.
In real life Hardy was addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine in his early-to-mid-20s. If the producers of the Bond series want to continue down the dark and realistic route, Hardy would be able to show Bond having serious demons. Hardy still does look dapper in suit and he does have a charm that would fit the Bond character. But like Fassbender, he already has appeared in major franchises.
At the age of 25 Jeremy Irvine is a young emerging actor who is best known for starring in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. Yet it is his role in the Prisoner-of-War drama The Railway Man where Irvine gave an excellent performance as a junior British army officer Eric Lomax who was captured by the Japanese that got him noticed. It was a demanding role, sharing characteristics and mannerisms with Colin Firth and having to play a resourceful, brave man who gets tortured by the Kempeitai. Though very young he would make a great dark horse candidate to play Bond.
In June bookmakers William Hill slashed their odds for Damian Lewis to play Bond to 6:4, making him one of the favorites to replace Craig. Audiences know Lewis in his role as Nicholas Brody in Homeland, an American soldier who was captured and tortured by al-Qaida and is questioned on where his loyalties lie. Lewis won an Emmy for the role and showcased the strains of his character readjusting to civilian life, getting to know his family and keeps Brody’s allegiances ambiguous. It would put him in a strong position to play Bond.
However Lewis is already 44-years-old, only three years younger than Daniel Craig. Plus considering how internet trolls reacted to blonde Bond, God knows how what they would say about the prospect of a ginger Bond.
London born, West Country raised actor Andrew Lincoln is best known as Rick Grimes in the excellent TV adaptation of The Walking Dead. Lincoln has constantly shown his ability to handle a gun and other weapons as he battles zombie hordes and shown a dark, ruthless and sometimes unstable side in the series.
Though Lincoln is best known for shouting “Carl”, he has also played an SAS soldier in the first series of Strike Back, a fitting background for anyone to plan Bond.
To America audiences, Lincoln has been seen to be a serious actor, but in Britain he starred off in comedic roles, leading the first two series of the comedy Teachers as a Bristol based English teacher who is not exactly devoted to his job. When Lincoln jumped ship the quality of the show went downhill.
Lincoln has also been able to attach beautiful ladies, wooing Keira Knightley in Love, Actually. Some men have all the luck.
Scotsman Richard Madden is best known for playing Robb Stark in Game of Thrones and since leaving the show he has been gaining more movie roles, such as the Prince in Cinderella and in the upcoming action movie Bastille Day. Though Madden is only 29 he has a mature face, the right shape and frame to play Bond and looks impressive in a suit. Madden showcased his talent in Game of Thrones, forced to become a leader at a young age and suffering personal and military dilemmas. Also Madden could either play Bond as English or Scottish, giving everyone involved in the project options.
James McAvoy has had an impressive career over his 36 years, appearing in action movies, dramas and comedies and showing an incredible range. Most mainstream audiences will know him best as the young Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise, using his psychic powers to seduce women in X-Men: First Class and exploring a darker, more desperate character in the sequel. McAvoy has also flexed his action muscles in the comic-book movie Wanted and British actioner Welcome to the Punch.
McAvoy has performed very dark roles during his career, having Atonement and Trance. It all reached a peak with Filth playing the detestable Bruce Robertson, a corrupt cop in Edinburgh. McAvoy had a dark sense of humor before the movie turned into a dark drama. He would easily mix the wit Bond is known for while mixing a psychological depth to the character, making him a psychologically damaged character. McAvoy would be at the right age to play Bond.
Jack O’Connell had a great 2014 starring in Starred Up, ’71 and Unbroken and had a supporting in 300: Rise of a Empire. O’Connell has been praised for his performances, winning the publically voted BAFTA Rising Star Award. He is only 25 but has proven his acting abilities and has an athletic physique; three of those four movies are testament to that. O’Connell can easily play a strong-willed, if hot headed and seeing a young Bond would be fresh interpretation of the character. Or he could at least be considered the next Bond after Craig’s successor.
What ever happens O’Connell is on the edge of stardom and could be like fellow Skins allumi like Nicholas Hoult, Dev Petal and Kaya Scodelario.
Oxford born David Oyelowo is an actor with a growing reputation in Hollywood, in Jack Reacher, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and most importantly as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. His performance as the Civil Rights leader was fantastic, balancing the emotional weight and expectations of the Civil Rights movement on his shoulders, with his personal struggles and political manoeuvres made for his cause. Many people thought Oyelowo was robbed of an Academy Award nomination for his performance. It was the type of role that should open doors for other leading roles.
Besides playing Dr. King, British audiences will recognize Oyelowo for playing an MI5 agent Danny Hunter in the TV spy show Spooks, so he has experience in the world of espionage. He appeared in the first three seasons of the show, playing a young agent rising up the ranks.
Oyelowo is also an actor used to breaking boundaries, he is the first Black actor to play an English King for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is going to be the first Black actor to play Bond, starring in an audiobook adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s Trigger Mortis.
Best known for his role as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens star is rising fast. Since leaving the show he has starred in the excellent B-Movie homage The Guest, the Liam Neeson led thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones and comedy sequel Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. He is also set to star alongside Emma Watson in a live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
Stevens is a handsome man that women can easily fall for and clearly looks good in a suit or tux. He standing as a potential Bond rose when he starred in The Guest, showing his ability to handle a gun and has the physicality for fight scenes. He also had a charming presence with an underlining sense of menace that gave Stevens a sinister edge, making him a little bit like a British version of Ryan Gosling. These are qualities needed to make a compelling Bond.
Best known to mainstream audiences as Kíli in The Hobbit Trilogy, Irish actor Aidan Turner has had been a successful actor in the UK, starring in Begin Human and Pollock. Turner is clearly an emerging acting, having a prominent role in The Hobbit movies, particularly the “Desolution of Smaug” and “Battle of the Five Armies” as he develops a romance with elven warrior woman Tauriel.
In Britain Turner has become a sex symbol, appealing to younger audiences as the vampire John Mitchell in Being Human and to older ladies as Ross Poldark. Turner showed off his tanned body in Poldark which British ladies swooned over.
At 32-years-old Turner is a still a young man and could easily be Bond for a long time if offered the role.
English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh and even an Australian actor have played Bond, so why not a Kiwi like Karl Urban? Urban has developed a fan base after playing Dr. McCoy in the Star Trek reboot and as Judge Dredd in the cult hit Dredd.
Urban has already shown himself to be a credible action hero in the aforementioned Dredd as well as in Doom and in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also has experience in espionage movie, playing the Russian assassin Kirill in The Bourne Supremacy and going toe-to-toe with Bruce Willis in RED.
Urban has proven himself to be an excellent actor, being in serious dramas like Out of the Blue and has a sense of humor as Bones. Fans of Star Trek commended for how he followed in Leonard McCoy’s footsteps as the popular character. He can easily do an American accent as well as his natural New Zealander accent, but has yet to play a British character.