With reporting that Daniel Craig turned down a contract to return as James Bond for two more movies, the talk of who will next play the famous spy with a licence to kill has ratcheted up.
From unnamed sources revealing actors having secret meetings with Bond producers to fans forming petitions to get their favourites the job, there’s no shortage of “news” on who could be 007. (Note: Craig hasn’t come out and said he’s not coming back as Bond, nor has the studio that releases the movies, Sony, commented on Craig’s status.)
Here are nine actors who have gone on record and said they want to play James Bond and why their talents would work for the iconic role. And we took an opinion in the matter.
He's got the look (though he might be a bit slim, especially compared to Craig), the accent, and now he's reportedly talking with producers about playing Bond.
Tom Hiddleston has not been shy about taking over the role if he were asked, and it seems that might be already underway. Part of a large franchise playing Loki in the Marvel movies, Hiddleston has also shown he can play characters of this world. He's received high marks starring as former British soldier Jonathan Pine in the AMC miniseries 'The Night Manager.'
Why he would be a good Bond: Hiddleston has proven he shines in the franchise setting -- not just the on-camera commitment, but also the publicity song-and-dance. No doubt, he would be a much more outgoing Bond than Craig.
If the Bond franchise really wants to get with the times, producers will give serious consideration to Elba.
Whether it's playing the strategic drug dealer 'Stringer' Bell in 'The Wire' or the genius detective in 'Luther,' Elba, who has been coy about the Bond talk, has a knack for playing tough guys with a subtle, cool manner that would fit perfectly in the Bond role.
Why he would be a good Bond: Not counting how historic it would be if a black actor got the role, there are just some men who have the right look in a tux, and Elba has it. We would totally spend the next five-plus years watching Elba chase down baddies around the world.
Talk of the 'Billions' star — formerly on 'Homeland' — as the next Bond has been going on for some time. And though Hiddleston and Elba grab a lot of the headlines, don't sleep on Lewis. He has that right level of stardom at the moment, so he could slip into the role and make it his own without audiences thinking of other characters when they see him in the tux.
But Lewis is keeping quiet on the chatter around him being considered for Bond.
'I would tell you, but I would have to kill you,' he said.
Why he would be a good Bond: Lewis certainly has the look, but he also has a style, like Elba, that is subtle. Being too cool for the room is almost a requirement.
Speaking of historic casting.
'Quantico' star Priyanka Chopra is not looking for a coveted Bond-girl role if asked. She wants the brass ring. 'F--- that -- I wanna be Bond,' she told Complex. Casting a female in a franchise that's been extremely chauvinistic for decades would be a huge move.
Why she would be a good Bond: Chopra has proven on 'Quantico' that she isn't shy to take the lead and play a tough, strong-willed character, a trait an actress would need to play the first-ever female Bond.
The 'X-Files' star can thank her rabid fan base for placing her in the running. A poster of Anderson as Bond (or as she puts it, 'Jane Bond') created by a fan and tweeted by Anderson has gone viral. There's now even a petition for Anderson to get the role, with nearly 16,000 signatures.
Why she would be a good Bond: With her 'X-Files' cred, it wouldn't be a stretch for her to play a spy. And she sure pulled off cool and collected (and dangerous) in her other recent TV roles on 'Hannibal' and 'The Fall.'
Can Superman also be James Bond?
It's kind of a stretch, but the current Man of Steel, Henry Cavill, said he'd 'love to be' the next Bond. But this may come down to scheduling. Cavill is in the midst of playing the superhero almost every year. Can he fit Bond into his schedule?
Why he would be a good Bond: Cavill certainly has the look. He might not capture the charisma, however, to play Bond right. This choice would need some convincing.
Starring in the hit show 'Game of Thrones' and about to star in the summer's tear-jerker 'Me Before You,' Emilia Clarke is a hot name in Hollywood at the moment. With that attention she hasn't been shy about what she wants to do going forward.
She said one of her dreams is to play Bond.
Why she would be a good Bond: Playing Daenerys Targaryen on 'Thrones,' there's no question she has the edgy attitude for the role. The one hiccup would be that she already tried an iconic action role, playing Sarah Connor in 'Terminator Genisys,' and that turned out to be a dud.
The Dublin-born actor is the least known on this list, but he has quietly become a serious contender.
Known best as the Kili character in 'The Hobbit' trilogy and the star of the BBC drama 'Poldark,' Turner has reportedly travelled to LA to meet with Bond producers.
Why he would be a good Bond: If the producers are looking for an unknown whom they can mould into the next Bond, then Turner would be the guy.
Known best for her comedic roles, Banks told Entertainment Weekly that she wants to play 007.
Banks is a talented comedic actress, it would be quite a sell to prove to not just producers but audiences that she could play the action-oriented role.
Why she would be a good Bond: With all that said, Banks might be a convincing Bond if the story suited her strengths. If Bond producers ever wanted to go back to the playful Bond movies of the 1980s Roger Moore era, than Banks would be perfect.
Out of this group the best choice would be Idris Elba.
Partly it's the fact that portraying Bond as someone other than a white man is an interesting proposition, but also Elba's talents are perfect for Bond. He's suave and sophisticated with a deadly edge to him. We think he would convince many of the naysayers (and there would be a lot of them) that the newest Bond can hold his own.
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