This year sees Daniel Craig taking up the Bond mantle for the fourth and, potentially, the penultimate time in Spectre, which reunites him with Skyfall director Sam Mendes. Considering Skyfall was the first and only Bond film to hit the billion dollar mark in box office revenue, MGM and United Artists will need to consider the casting of the next Bond very carefully. They’ll need someone who can handle taking a starring role as well as be the face of one of the most popular franchises in movie history. There have been numerous names banded about social media (which seems odd, as recasting is not likely to happen for another few years), including the likes of Henry Cavill, Benedict Cumberbatch and Damien Lewis.
Now, I have stated before how, until Craig was cast, that Bond is a terrible spy. With Craig in the role, Bond was played as a person rather than a persona, a human killing machine that is not beyond being broken by his job. His successor needs to continue this trend in order for the series to remain relevant, while at the same time being the charismatic rogue people love. So, putting aside speculation for the moment, let’s look at the one fan favourite who, for my money, is in fact the perfect choice for the role of James Bond.
I’m going with Idris Elba.
The reason for this is simple: just look at his work. Coming to the fore in HBO’s terrific crime drama The Wire, Elba has already established himself as a character actor, one who can immerse himself in literally any role – and I do mean any. When he’s not living in the criminal world in The Wire, or minor roles in films like 28 Weeks Later and American Gangster, he’s stealing the show in films like Prometheus and the flat out bonkers Pacific Rim. He’s even in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But it’s not so much the jobs he takes as the way he tackles them. I, for one, had no idea he was a Brit until I saw him pick up an award for his work in The Wire. He reminds me very much of an early Gary Oldman: an actor who totally immerses himself in a role with a dab hand at accents to boot. In fact, Oldman is probably the only other actor who could’ve pulled off the “cancelling the apocalypse” speech in Pacific Rim without it sounding snooker loopy. He’s an actor that clearly just loves to act, which is why he has no qualms about playing Nelson Mandella, whilst at the same time appearing in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (unsurprisingly, he’s about the only good thing in that shit heap of a sequel).
For me, however, the most important thing is that he oozes the right amount of confidence and cockiness. This stems to him personally rather than any of the characters he’s played, and if he is so self-assured in reality (just watch an interview with him to see what I mean), then the move to him playing the world’s most famous spy should be a slam dunk. This is James Bond incarnate. Ignore the pre-Craig films entirely and go back to the original Bond as envisioned by Ian Fleming: effectively a professional hit-man who is undeniably damaged by his unfaltering allegiance to Queen and Country. Sure there’s a swagger about him, but it’s the dichotomy between the charismatic gentleman and the borderline sociopath that the next Bond actor needs to ace. To me, that is Elba. It’s all about who James Bond is, not what he looks like (the anger some have had over casting a black James Bond is, quite frankly, pathetic, if not outright insulting).
The only thing holding him back is his age. Only five years younger than Craig, he’d be fast approaching fifty by the time the recasting takes place. But if Roger Moore can be Bond in his late fifties, there’s hope yet.
What do you think? Is Elba our man? Comment below.
Has our opinion changed since the last time Craig’s position as Bond hit the headlines? More Bond choice inspiration.