It seems Daniel Craig is giving up his License to Kill for good after the upcoming Spectre. If his comments “I’d rather slash my wrists than do another” are true then the 25th installment of the long-running film series will have a new lead man in the role. Here are my humble suggestions for who should step into his shoes.
It created a stir last month when Anthony Horowitz said Elba was “too street” for the iconic role. It also launched several amusing backlashes, not least of all from satire site NewsThump who suggested that Horowitz was “too indoors-y” to write about a playboy spy. In Horowitz’s defence, his own suggestion for the role was another black man – Adrian Lester (star of Hustle). Nevertheless, Elba seems to be the people’s choice right now and for good reason. He is a fine actor and has proven himself flexible – not to mention a heartthrob which is a vital attribute for anyone playing Bond. He’s played Nelson Mandela, a tough detective in the iconic Luther, a military commander in Pacific Rim, a dry executive type in the US version of The Office and much more.
Damian Lewis has been a star of big and small screen for years, wowing American and British audiences in Homeland and Band of Brothers. Most recently, he played Henry VIII in the TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. It seems he has been around a long time but he is just 44 years old. Should he get the role, he could certainly bring the well-spoken suave that many feel is an essential part of the Bond role – he will also be the first ginger Bond. He’s not a stranger to the action roles so as much as I prefer other actors, I think he is more likely than most as it stands at the moment. I also keep confusing him with Toby Stephens who has appeared in a Bond film – Die Another Day which was Pierce Brosnan’s final outing in 2002.
The youngest in this little collection of mine, where do I start with Tom Hardy? Like Lewis, he also appeared in Band of Brothers but to many, his breakout performance was as as “Handsome Bob” in Rocknrolla. A great all round actor who was in Inception and around the same time, in The Dark Knight Rises as Bane. He has played subtle roles like My Life Backwards, as Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights in 2009 as well as the action roles already mentioned. Add to that Bronson and Marie Antoinette and you have an actor who is not afraid to take challenging roles and try a bit of everything. He has the right look and the right build, and could easily “posh it up” if required. A strong contender from me.
Burst onto our screens for most people as the replacement for Matthew MacFayden on Spooks. We were dubious about his character as he was quite different from MacFayden; however he soon won over the audiences and several years later, he too was replaced. More recently, Penry-Jones has appeared as a lead actor on London-based detective drama Whitechapel along with the superb Philip Davis. After leaving Spooks, he appeared in a remake of The 39 Steps so playing a posh soldier / spy / detective in several roles will set him up nicely to play James Bond. He is suave, well-spoken, quietly-spoken and could turn on the intensity if needed – we saw it plenty of times in Spooks and in Whitechapel. An outsider perhaps, but could be up for the role and could easily step into those shoes.
Too boyish perhaps but like Penry-Jones above, he has played a spy before – and on the same show, Spooks. Fans of the show were shocked when Oyelowo’s character “Danny” became the first member of the original team to be killed off. Having played Martin Luther King Jr. in a recent biopic, he could be a strong contender and play a modern yet flexible Bond to take us into the next decade or two. Oyelowo is 39, just one year older than Craig was when he was announced as the new Bond when filming on Casino Royale began. Genre fans will know him from Rise of the Planet of the Apes where he played James Franco’s boss, and in Interstellar where he had a small part as a school principle.
Those are my five humble suggestions. Anybody want to rubbish my suggestions and suggest somebody else?