The question of who should play James Bond next is a burning one for fans of the spy franchise and without even knowing which studio will get the distribution rights, it’s one that at this point has no definitive answer. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it and imagine our favorite actor following in Daniel Craig’s footsteps.
As with anybody who has been cast as the suave 007, there will be controversy. Craig himself was not a popular choice with fans or previous James Bond’s, he was “too blonde” and “too old” for the role, however, he has proven his critics wrong and made the last three installments the most successful at the box office. Skyfall received several award nominations.
Now let’s take a look at who on Earth could replace the current James Bond, Daniel Craig. Almost all of them have expressed interest in the role (for good reason).
Henry Cavill in The Man From U.N.C.L.E (Image via HenryCavill.org)
Of all the possible candidates, Henry Cavill was the one who has come closer to actually playing James Bond. In 2005 — when he was only 22 — he auditioned for the role, which he describes as “really painful” and almost landed the part.
However, studio executives thought he was too young at the time and the role went to Daniel Craig. Ten-years-later he is at the perfect age (32) and has a legion of fans who would love to see him play 007, but can this reconcile with his superhero image?
Henry is certainly fit enough and has the looks to play Bond. He even got a taste of playing a spy in his upcoming film The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. We wouldn’t complain if Henry Cavill was cast as James Bond.
Richard Armitage in Spooks (BBC)
This is an interesting possibility. Tall, dark, brooding, and such a fantastic actor. Richard Armitage is also the correct age and his credentials — while not of the blockbuster nature — speak for themselves. A theater trained actor, he recently blew audiences away in the stage production of The Crucible.
His best known role on the silver screen is that of Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the dwarves in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy and oh, what a performance. Armitage is widely admired, not only by legions of adoring fans, but peers and directors as well for his work ethics and with reason. The deep, velvety voice doesn’t hurt either.
Richard Armitage, 43, is certainly at the right age and has the good looks and intensity to play James Bond. He has proven that he can carry a movie and is used to playing action roles. We will be able to admire his skills when he appears as the serial killer The Tooth Fairy/Red Dragon in NBC’s Hannibal. Oh and he also starred in Spooks as MI-5 agent Lucas North.
Luke Evans in The Great Train Robbery (BBC)
Another interesting prospect, Luke Evans has expressed interest in the role of James Bond and is also used to playing very physical roles, which amount to the majority of his growing resume. Luke also came from theater, though in a different genre. Musical theater is his background and boy he can sing.
Singing is not required to play James Bond, but Luke Evans should be in any list of possible candidates. An actor who has proven he can undertake any role, and is ruggedly handsome (plus has that awesome Welsh accent) he specifically said that he would love the challenge of playing 007, while praising what Daniel Craig has done for the franchise.
“I think that’s a really good role. Daniel Craig has turned that role into something very special and as an actor of my age that would be a really great thing and I think the world needs a Welsh James Bond.”
In real life, Luke Evans is the epitome of fashion and can be seen at various events looking very dapper, which can easily be translated to the big screen.
Tom Hiddleston via Jaguar France (YouTube)
We mostly know him as the villain Loki, from Thor and Avengers, but Tom Hiddleston is so much more than a baddie. Though many think he would be an excellent Bond villain, he also has the looks and talent to play the man himself.
He is British, which in our opinion is the basic requirement and he can act. Like the previous candidates, he comes from theater and has appeared in anything from superhero movies to Shakespearean characters with ease. Even though he’s a bit young, like Cavill, by the time the next James Bond movie is ready to go under production he would be ripe for the role.
Jason Statham in Killer Elite (Open Road Films)
This action star cannot be discounted when talking about the next James Bond and Jason Statham recently expressed his interest in playing 007 when Daniel Craig retires. He “enthusiastically” told the Guardian that if he was ever offered the gig he would be up for it.
“Could I do it? Abso-f**king-lutely,” he said. “Would I do it? Abso-f**king-lutely.”
Statham also thinks that Daniel Craig has brought new energy to the role, but said that if he was cast as James Bond he would take on the Ian Fleming character in a “different” way.
“Yeah, I’d make a decent Bond,” Statham said. “But it’d be very, very different if I did it.”
Matthew Macfadyen in Spooks (BBC)
Mr. Darcy as James Bond? Not a bad possibility and according to the handsome Brit, he was approached by studio executives about playing 007.
“”Yes, they might have. I don’t know about Bond. It’s a weird one, isn’t it? It’s a bit camp. It would change your life.”
There are few that do brooding better than Matthew Macfadyen and he certainly has what it takes, although he’s not known for undertaking particularly physical roles. However, he has the talent and given the motivation Macfadyen could play the most famous spy of all time. Earlier in his career he starred as Tom Quinn — the original MI-5 agent — in the very popular spy series, Spooks, where he incidentally met his wife, Keeley Hawes.
Unfortunately, for fans, so far it doesn’t seem like Matthew Macfadyen is interested in having his life turned upside down by becoming James Bond, but never say never. Macfadyen is the personification of tall, dark, and broody on the big screen if not so in real life and we will have to wait and see if he can be convinced.
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.)
Another Welsh would could very well take on the iconic role of James Bond, Christian Bale is a proven actor, and while not the handsome type, as many of those already listed, he has more than enough credentials to follow in Daniel Craig’s footsteps.
Bale is best known for playing Batman in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, but has many, many films under his belt in an impressive filmography. What do you think of Christian Bale as James Bond?
Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen (Millennium Films)
He’s getting there in age and at 45 would be a bit old by the time Daniel Craig is done with James Bond, but Gerry Butler would do a nice 007. He has that perpetual smirk, which gives the impression he’s a bad boy and the ladies love him.
The handsome Scot got in a bit of hot water when he joked about being cast as 007. However, franchise producer Barbara Broccoli quickly dismissed the rumors and insisted that Pierce Brosnan (James Bond at the time) was the man for the foreseeable future.
Idris Elba in Luther (BBC)
The Internet was in an uproar when the infamous Sony hack revealed emails suggesting Idris Elba was being eyed to play James Bond. For his fans, it was music to their ears.
If you’ve ever seen Elba in action, you know he can act and in a variety of roles. He does brooding very well as he proved in Luther and was all over the place in the action film Pacific Rim. So why not? Not how many would picture James Bond, but it’s all about the acting chops, right?
Do you have a favorite actor in mind to play James Bond after Daniel Craig departs? Let us know in the comments. What do you think of our list?
[Image via EON Productions]