Saturday, February 27, 2016

Who Will Be the Next James Bond?

I've read Ian Fleming's James Bond books. I plowed through them while in high school. Probably not the typical fare for a teen-aged girl, but growing up I wanted to either work for the Central Intelligence Agency or in media. I tested for the C.I.A. and I did relatively well until I had an official interview in a hotel room with a woman who looked as though she could throw me out the window -without blinking. Once I answered a question with "I am close to my family" she didn't seem to think I would fit in as an operative. I had visions of being a female James Bond, so ending up in the media was second choice.

The Bond books were terrific reads, although keep in mind I read Fleming's works many years ago and I might not think as highly of them if I were to read them today. Bond, as envisioned by Fleming was a composite figure of many men he encountered while serving his nation.That said nation is Great Britain. I was having a conversation the other day with a group of old friends and we started discussing some recent films. When we got to discussing the latest Bond film, Spectre, a near hush silenced the room. I was the first one to say that Spectre was the worst entry in the Daniel Craig era of Bond films. Shockingly, everyone agreed with my assessment and we rarely agree on much. I remember thinking when they first cast Craig as the legendary Bond that it was a bad choice, but when Casino Royale was released I admitted my initial reaction was dead wrong.

Bond was a Royal Navy Commander who eventually served as a secret spy for Her Majesty's Secret Service. He was slimly built (Moore, Brosnan and Dalton were the slimmest) and he had a scar on his right cheek (no one has had that). The stunning Bond had blue/grey eyes and black hair (no one has had that either, although the extremely dark brown hair of Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan came somewhat close). Bond was six feet tall and he weighed in at 168 pounds.

At my dinner conversation the group carried on about how Daniel Craig no longer wanted to play James Bond. Why not? He has minted himself a great deal of money playing the iconic spy. He now claims he would rather slash his wrists if he has to have another go at the character. He obviously has never known anyone who committed suicide. Anyone with that knowledge wouldn't be so flip about slashing one's wrists. The grueling six month international shooting schedule most likely has something to do with his desire to leave the franchise. Who in their right mind wants to be away for six months while maintaining a body that must look Bond-like. Gary Oldman turned down the offer to play the bad guy, because the last thing he wanted to do was be away for six months. Playing Bond. Be careful what you wish for.

Most Bond films aren't good, but when they work, they do work. Casino Royale is the definitive entry in the entire catalog of films. By the way, Sean Connery in many ways is still the best Bond, but I only say that, because you sort of have to say it. Connery is a special actor in the annals of cinema, so we cave to the notion he was the best Bond. Personally, Daniel Craig is the best Bond. His on-screen presence and performance are Ian Fleming's Bond.

Now we need a new Bond. We carried on at the table about a wide variety of actors that could play Bond and we all agreed on one thing and that was he must be British. No Americans. No Irishmen. No Canadians. No Australians. No other actors who can act with a British accent. We are purists. Bond must be a Brit. George Lazenby was the first non-Brit to inhabit the role and purists don't want that to happen again.  Lazenby was from Australia and Brosnan was Irish. Both were mistakes.

Here we go: All of our names fit the bill as far as their ability to act, be suave and believable as 007! We eliminated all potential Irish, Australian, American, Canadian and anyone else who isn't British.

On for the chase of the next James Bond. These are realistic options for the series. We encourage you to comment with your vote.

Henry Cavill was born in 1983 and he's 6'1", so physically he would be perfect for the role and his age is near perfect for taking over the franchise. I suspect his Superman duties may forbid the crossing into this territory.  He's British. (Superman films, The Immortals, The Tudors)

Charlie Hunnam certainly can pull off masculine and rugged and we'd believe him taking down the bad guys. He's British, age appropriate and at 6'1" he is nice and tall without being too tall. (Sons of Anarchy, Knights of the Roundtable, Pacific Rim)

James Norton is a Brit and he is suave and handsome. He is 6'1" and he was born in 1985, so the age is perfect. The guy can play all kinds of characters from psychopaths to romantics. (War and Peace, Happy Valley, Grantchester)

Sam Claflin is British and he has the acting skills, masculinity and abilities to play Bond. He was born in 1986, so he is the right age to begin a long run. He's tall enough as well. (The Hunger Games, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Huntsman)

Alex Pettyfer was born in 1990 and charts in at 5'11". He's British. He may be a bit too young, but by the time they yell cut, he would be chiming in nicely. (Magic Mike (don't hold that against him), Endless Love, Elvis and Nixon)

Theo James has 1984 as a birth year and he's 6'0", so quite a nice fit. He's British and dashing to boot. (Divergent, Insurgent, Golden Boy)

Richard Madden is British and he can play pretty much any role. He can do rugged (rent Klondike) and romantic. He's a superb actor. He has the suave, the height and the looks. He was born in 1986, so a perfect time to start as James Bond. (Game of Thrones, Cinderella, Bastille Day)

Kit Harrington was born in 1986 and he's British. He certainly would bring a good net of a fan base to the franchise, but at 5'8" may be a tad too short for Bond. (Game of Thrones, Pompeii, Seventh Son)

Tom Hardy is the most recognizable name on the list and both men and women seem to love him, but he may be a bit too old to take on the role at this point, since he would be in his 40's by the time he started. He certainly would be the most intense Bond of all-time. He's British and sites claim he is 5'9". (The Revenant, Inception, Band of Brothers, Max Max: Fury Road)

Tom Hiddleston was born in 1981 and is 6'2". Hiddleston has a wide range and could certainly pull off Bond. (The Night Manager, Thor, I Saw the Light)

Douglas Booth was born in 1992 and is 6'1". He's way too young, but it could be interesting to have someone so young take on 007. (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Noah)

Idris Elba was born in 1972 and is 6'3". Elba would certainly break new territory being the first black actor to play Bond. Elba is a gifted actor and he's one of the few actors who pulls off cool so casually, but is he too old to take on the franchise? (The Wire, Luther, Beasts of No Nation, Bastille Day)

Damian Lewis was born in 1971 and is 6'1". Lewis, like Elba may be getting too old to start this franchise. Even if he started shooting a film in 2017 he'd be 60 years old by the time a fifth entry in his series would be released. He'd be the first ginger-haired Bond. (Homeland, Billions)

Please comment and vote.  I am friends with a "big shot" at Sony. I'll be sending this to that executive.

Final word is a question. Why has there been no television series based on Bond?

Copyright The Flaming Nose 2016


Anonymous said...

Actually, Pierce Brosnan does have blue eyes and dark hair, just the way that Fleming described Bond. For that matter, so does Timothy Dalton. And as for Brosnan being the only non-Brit to play the role, have you forgotten George Lazenby? The only Aussie, so far, to play Bond. I don't really think that the candidates that have been trotted out would make a good Bond. My personal choice would be Hugh Jackman even if he is a) Australian and b) not in his 30's.

Anonymous said...

P.S. My apologies, I must have skipped the part where you did mention Lazenby playing the role.