With the recent developments in the Sony hacking crisis causing the international-wide release of The Interview to be cancelled, it seems that the emerging generational threat of ‘cyber-espionage’ has simultaneously forced Sony’s hand whilst setting a precedent within the film industry, one that has come under much criticism from both actors and industry heads alike. Although minor steps have been taken by Sony in rectifying their controversial decision, through both limited theatre release and the film being made available online, the notion of ‘cyber terrorism’ being able to blockade the release of a major motion picture offers much food for thought.
Ironically, one of the Sony projects which was leaked this year was an extremely early draft script for upcoming James Bond spy thriller, Spectre.The 24th Bond instalment will be Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as the suave yet deadly, modernised reiteration of Ian Fleming‘s ‘timeless’ sleuth. I say timeless, as with a franchise this successful and with such an iconic figure at its core, it seems that Bond will no doubt be a character that will continue to produce large revenue and attract audiences for years to come.
Daniel Craig cannot, and probably will not want to, continue as Bond after the release of Spectre (2015). Despite the success he has achieved in this iconic role, inevitably Craig as Bond will eventually instill boredom more than it will evoke excitement, and it is more than likely that Craig will want to leave of his own accord rather than being forced out by the influence garnered from the opinions of disappointed moviegoers and critics alike. As my favourite Distict Attorney-turned vengeful lunatic would say, “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” And if 2008’s disappointing Quantum of Solace offered any post-viewing contemplation, it primarily served as a reminder that Craig is anything but invulnerable in his breakout role as 007. Naturally then, we must consider who may be able to reinvent the character once Craig and Sony part ways. Therefore I want to have a brief look at my favourite choice of actors who I think would be excellent candidates as the 7th actor (within the main film series canon) to take up the legendary mantle of 007 once Craig has hung up his silenced pistols.
Idris Elba: The Favourite
Perhaps the most widely petitioned actor to succeed Craig as Bond, Elba’s choice somewhat echoes that of Craig when it was initially announced he would be taking on the role in the franchise reboot Casino Royale (2007). The choice of Craig was criticized due to the fact that unlike previous Bonds he had blonde hair and blue eyes and was not the ‘traditionally handsome’ actor that Bond fans were calling for. So I cannot imagine the disparity in opinion that Elba would cause if chosen as the new Bond. As a black actor, it would be naive to believe that in these ages the colour of an actors skin should not matter when casting for a film role. Elba is not shy to having experienced such prejudice in the past, with the public criticism received for his inclusion as historically white, Nordic God, Heimdall in Thor (2011). Despite this Elba seems like most people’s favourite to take the role, with calls for him to be given the role of James Bond flowing from all corners of the internet.
Personally, I think that Elba is a fantastic actor and his acting range is diverse enough for him to make the role of James Bond his own. It used to always make me laugh reading the U.S. messageboards for BBC’s Luther, and specifically the utter shock of American fans as they realise that The Wire‘s gangster/entrepreneur, Stringer Bell was in fact English. This, along with his highly impressive turn as anti-apartheid revolutionary Neslon Mandela, examples his ability to adapt to a wide variety of roles and firmly establishes that the man can act. Having said that, I don’t quite see Elba as Bond.
Bond is a deeply flawed character as explored perhaps most honestly during Craig’s tenure, and as we can see in BBC’s Luther, Elba can play the flawed hero to the downright borderline sociopathic. Yet, there is something amiss for me concerning Elba as Bond, I think he is currently one of Britain’s most talented actors and if he was chosen I would certainly not be complaining, but I think he is better when he plays characters more grounded in the realm of the serious at all times, with Stringer Bell and John Luther being serious examples of his most acclaimed roles; and let’s be honest Bond can be downright cheesy at the best of times. I can’t quite seem to gauge the possibility of a suited-up Elba delivering one of the character’s infamous, yet wholly tongue-in-cheek pick up lines.
Luke Evans: The Ideal Choice
Now onto who I consider as the best all around choice to take over the mantle. If we consider when Craig first took over the role of Bond, he was a relatively unknown actor to the mainstream general consensus of moviegoers, with Casino Royale being the platform to his rise to A-list actor stardom. Luke Evans is a young British actor, whom has slowly but surely began to build a portfolio of work that for me is now just shy of a major lead role to take his acting status to the next level. Appearances in several action adventure features including The Immortals (2011) and The Hobbit franchise (2012-2014), has seen his stock rise over the past few years, with the latter showing that he can hold his own in a big Hollywood blockbuster. However it wasn’t until his recent turn as Vlad the Impaler in Dracula Untold (2014), in which I was truly convinced as to the legitimacy of his potential claim to Craig’s throne.
Despite the film itself being entirely hit and miss throughout, Evans performance was praiseworthy, his on screen presence in a lead role was there for all to see as he was able to successfully portray a conflicted and emotional hero, whilst simultaneously exuding the cold and calculating manner of a natural born killer. I believe Evans possesses everything needed to excel as the enigmatic lothario: the presence, the looks, the potential; with the role of Bond possibly being for Evans what it was for Craig: a springboard to the big time.
Andrew Lincoln: The Longshot
Okay, I know this one may be reaching a bit considering he hasn’t really got the same silver screen filmography as the previous two. However, to anyone that has seen AMC’s The Walking Dead, they will understand the both the charisma and acting ability that Lincoln possesses. Lincoln and Elba are around the same age, and so he offers a perhaps more refined and mature vision, than say, Evans’ Bond. Probably not on many people’s radar as a potential successor for the role of 007, Lincoln offers a British actor with the rugged good looks and demeanor to take the role and make it his own. When choosing a Bond there should be certain criteria to look for in an actor, Lincoln seemingly possesses those attributes and due to the overwhelming success of The Walking Dead, he is an actor who will be familiar to an international audience. One cannot underestimate the draw and impact of ‘star image’, and Lincoln with his star twinkling as Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes, offers an unknown yet familiar entity.
When choosing a new actor to portray Bond it is ultimately finding the balance between: an actor who is known through an impressive yet steady body whilst having not yet achieved ‘superstar’ status. After the release of Casino Royale (2006), it seemed as though Daniel Craig was being advertised as being in the latest release every few weeks, simply the effect the role of James Bond had on his already respectable career. I think that any of the aforementioned choices would offer great yet different interpretations, with all actors possessing the potential star image without having, as of yet, landed that major Hollywood role that will catapult their career to the top echelons of silver screen stardom. Personally, I think Luke Evans has the potential to be a franchise figure head for years to come, he possesses all the right characteristics to become a huge star in the film industry, and I think if given the chance he would become a James Bond that would both shake and stir the franchise into a new era.