Much like the rest of the film industry at the current moment, maybe except for that madman, Nolan, Universal and MGM has postponed the release of their upcoming Bond film in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. No Time To Die is meant to mark the end of actor Daniel Craig’s tenure as the iconic British superspy James Bond. Originally set for April it got pushed back to November this year. So I guess we’ll have to wait for Craig’s time as Bond to…die another day. Get it? Pierce Brosnan? Anyways with Craig finally bowing out of the role of Bond, it’s time for Universal and MGM to start thinking about the future of James Bond. Craig brought a refreshing dose of dramatic gravity and relatable pathos to the character but he’s not the only the English actor capable of taking up the mantle. In fact, I can think of a good few actors who would make for the perfect 007!
We’ve scoured the world of film and television looking for the suavest, sexiest and most capable thespians of the Royal Isles! So, let’s get to it then.
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
For a relatively brief time in the early 2010s, BBC’s Sherlock became a worldwide phenomenon. The first two seasons of the series was a critical darling and it propelled a relatively obscure actor into the limelight. That man is Benedict Cumberbatch. Over the years, the man has carved out a niche for himself in the world of entertainment. He’s best known for playing sharp-tongued, quick-witted characters in films like The Imitation Games and The Current War. When he’s not, of course, being recognised as the wisecracking Sorcerer Supreme in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Though he’s not quite Ian McKellen, Cumberbatch is definitely one of the most famous English actors to this day. Which is why he would be perfect for the role of Bond.
One thing that I’ve always felt was missing from the 007 franchise was a portrayal of Bond’s brainier side. We’ve always seen him as a smooth operator, a deadly assassin or a rogue agent with a bone to pick. I think it would be an excellent change of pace to see Cumberbatch play a more tactical and methodical Bond. Instead of merely relying on gadgets to be a quick deus ex machina out of difficult situations, we could have a Bond who looks before he leaps. A strategist and as much as a spy. He’s already had some experience playing a secret agent in 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which I highly recommend you check out. Furthermore, he’s pretty easy on the eyes if you know what I mean.
2. Idris Elba
Even in a film as appalling as Cats, Idris Elba’s magnetic personality and charisma still manages to shine through at times. That’s high praise considering how much of a trainwreck that film was. If there’s one thing Elba is known for it’s his versatility as an actor. I mean, no matter the role given to him, he’ll make it work to his advantage. I first caught wind of the man when I started watching BBC’s Luther in which Elba plays a hardened, grizzled detective by the name of John Luther. And holy shit on a stick, Elba is absolutely amazing in the series. Throughout the show, Elba manages a tout balancing act between compassionate guardian and ruthless executioner. His layered performance as Luther easily earns him a spot.
The character of James Bond doesn’t necessarily have to be Caucasian, especially if Universal and MGM are planning on rebooting the franchise. Furthermore, this isn’t about skin colour. This is about raw talent and Elba has it in spades. Elba isn’t just a serious dramatic actor either, he’s got a great sense of humour, being able to make lines like “I’m black Superman” work in Hobbs and Shaw. Every actor who has ever taken up the role of Bond brings something to new to the table. I believe Elba could bring an air of levity and modern sophistication to the person of Bond while at the same time maintaining the character’s grit. As much as I love Craig as Bond, he was always a bit of a downer.
3. Tom Hardy
In case you haven’t noticed, Tom Hardy is a complete and utter nutcase. Most folks know him for his iconic role in BBC’s Peaky Blinders as the endlessly novel, quick-tempered Jewish mobster, Alfie Solomon. A man who constantly flies off the handle in utterly quotable rants when he’s not unleashing an endless tide of hilarious profanities. That’s just the tip of the crazy iceberg though when it comes to Hardy. He’s had a slap fight with his twin self in Legend, got inhumanly jacked for the role of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and has rubbed butter on his bloody privates in Bronson! Needless to say, the man will go above and beyond for his craft and I love Hardy to death for that. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if 2018’s Venom was autobiographical.
So why again do I think this lunatic of a man can play the role of Bond? Simply put Tom Hardy is a pure method actor, through and through. If a role calls for him to be emotionally vulnerable then he’ll lay his heart on the floor as seen in films like Locke and Warrior. If it needs him to be stoic and collective as seen in Mad Max: Fury Road and Dunkirk, you best believe the man will be as stern as stone. Bat-shit insane? Yeah, we know the answer to that. Tom Hardy is one of the greatest English actors of this generation and I think he has the potential to make for a memorable, if not entertaining, Bond. Honestly, I’d pay top dollar to see Tom Hardy’s James Bond chokeslam a guy!
4. Jude Law
Though not as popular as the previous picks on our list, I believe Jude Law to be a serious contender for the part of James Bond. Jude Law is what I would call the “quintessential English actor”. Not unlike the older breed of thespians the likes of Colin Firth or Ralph Fiennes, Law has been known to occupy the role of the classic gentleman. It fits the man like a glove. When he’s not being thoroughly outraged by the antics of Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes, he’s busying himself with the business of keeping the Wizarding World under wraps as the dignified Dumbledore. That being said, he’s not afraid to sink his teeth into juicier roles. HBO’s The Young Pope is a prime example of Law’s dramatic and comedic chops.
Daniel Craig’s James Bond has always been seen as a somewhat of a departure from the traditional Bond. A world-wearied weapon of MI6 whose looking for peace and closure after a lifetime of tragedy and war. Perhaps it’s time for the franchise to return to its more orthodox roots with Jude Law taking up the moniker of 007. I think we’ve had our plenty fill of dark, deconstructions and edgy reboots in this day and age. Jude Law could bring some class and whimsy back to the character of James Bond. Films like The Kingsman series brought back some of that glamour but it’s time for the original English agent to show them how it’s done.
5. Chiwetel Ejiofor
It is a crying shame that actor Chiwetel Ejiofor’s name doesn’t get mentioned enough in conversations about who could play James Bond. For those unaware of his work, Ejiofor has been attached to several high profile films like Children of Men, 12 Years a Slave and Come Sunday. You may also know him as Karl Mordo from Doctor Strange or the voice of Scar in 2019’s The Lion King. For me, he will always be the noble and effective angel of death from Joss Whedon’s Serenity. In everything the man does, there’s an aura of sincerity and generosity of self that cannot be denied. An air of decorum about the man that would befit the character of James Bond.
Ejiofor immediately elevates any role given to him and if given the chance to play 007, he could truly take the franchise to new heights. If I may make one small criticism about Craig’s Bond is that his performance as Bond feels a tad wooden. His dour demeanour and moments of melancholy could feel rather forced at times. Ejiofor, however, could build upon his predecessor’s legacy and add a real sense of humanity to the character of Bond. I’d love to see Ejiofor play a more thoughtful and introspective Bond. One who goes on an arc to seek absolution for the terrible deeds he’s done in the name of crown and country. If given the right material, Ejiofor could be the best Bond to date.
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