Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2016 by Angie Han
We’ve yet to get confirmation that Daniel Craig is done with the James Bond franchise. But considering he spent the Spectre press tour calling his character a misogynist and declaring he’d rather slash his wrists than play Bond again — and considering recent rumors that he’s turned down $100 million to reprise the role for two more films — it seems a safe assumption that he won’t be sticking around for too much longer. So the question, then, is who’ll replace him. Because Bond is eternal — the only question is what form he’ll take on next. It’ll probably be a while before we get a real answer, but in the meantime, here are some of our favorite choices.
The beauty of Bond is that the character changes to fit the times. Daniel Craig was a very different 007 from Pierce Brosnan, who was not a whole lot like Sean Connery, and so on. But while making our picks, we tried to keep a few guidelines in mind.
The first and most important rule was that the actors had to be British or Irish. We’re proud Americans over here at /Film, but even we’re aware that James Bond is an iconically British character. Casting an American as 007 would just be wrong, and would probably result in a war between the U.K. and the U.S.
We also tried to keep in mind that the next Bond probably won’t get to take on the mantle for another couple of years, and that the filmmakers will likely want someone who can stick around for years after that. In other words, they probably wouldn’t cast anyone too old. We additionally ruled out any actors who are already leading other blockbuster franchises (sorry, Henry Cavill; you were great in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). That left us with a crop of up-and-comers and about-to-blow-up-ers, all falling between their 20s and their 40s, and all from the other side of the Atlantic.
Scroll through our choices (listed in no particular order) below, and let us know in the comments whom you’d like to see pick up that Walther PPK.
Tom Hiddleston (age: 35)
If you ask British bookies who the next Bond is going to be, their favorite, apparently, is Tom Hiddleston. His appeal is clear: He’s suave and a little dark and can wear the hell out of some very nice suits. But frankly, it’s hard to imagine the filmmakers going for someone as established as Hiddleston. Ditto other fan faves like Tom Hardy (38) and Idris Elba (43).
More so than most franchises, James Bond is really built around its leading man, and our suspicion is that the team will want someone they can keep to themselves — not someone like Hiddleston, whose celebrity image is already very familiar and who’s already strongly associated with competing brands (i.e., Marvel and, if all goes well, Kong: Skull Island). But hey, if the Bond team wants to prove us wrong, we most certainly are not going to argue with Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hardy, or Idris Elba putting on that tux.
Dan Stevens (33)
Dan Stevens has been on the verge of blowing up since The Guest. It’s just a matter of which film will be the one to kick his career up to the next level. Why not a Bond movie? We already know from The Guest that Stevens can do smooth and dangerous, and that he knows how to handle a (movie prop) gun. Downton Abbey taught us he looks dashing in fancy dress. Stick a martini in his hand, and he’s good to go.
David Oyelowo (40)
If David Oyelowo could bring a towering figure like Martin Luther King, Jr. to life, James Bond should be a cinch. If anything, he might be too good for this role — his powerhouse performance in Selma suggests he’s destined for greatness. And yet, he hasn’t quite been able to reach household name status yet. A Bond film would do the trick, and in the meantime we’d get a Bond who effortlessly exudes magnetism.
Hugh Dancy (40)
Hugh Dancy may not be the most obvious choice to suit up as Bond, but as he demonstrated in Hannibal, he’s got an intensity to him that could add a new dimension to the character. Or, if that’s not the direction the reboot wants to take, he can also flash a dazzling smile and turn on the charm, like he’s done in lighter fare like Hysteria and Our Idiot Brother. Dancy’s versatility is one of the very best things about him (and, come to think of it, would make him a really good spy).
Matthew Lewis (26)
Matthew Lewis has already done the “iconic British franchise” thing once before with Harry Potter, but for most of that series he was a dorky kid. It wasn’t until the final films that Neville emerged as a heroic badass, and Lewis as an out-of-nowhere heartthrob. Bond could push Matthew Lewis into the next phase of his career. As a bonus, he’s the spitting image of a young Clive Owen, a.k.a. yesteryear’s fan-favorite pick to play 007.