‘SPECTRE’ looked set to be Craig’s final appearance as Bond when he told Time Out magazine that he would ‘rather slash his wrists’ then play the super spy for a fifth time, but the 52-year-old went back on those comments by agreeing to take on the role for ‘No Time To Die’, which was due to premiere in 2020 but was pushed back to 2021.
The movie was beset with issues even before the released date was pushed back, and if Craig had not had enough of playing the role before this, it is probably very safe to suggest that he may be sick of it now. It is likely to be his time to finally walk away, but when Craig does go, who will be the man to follow in his footsteps?
Who will be the man that spends the next decade or so being compared to the men who have come before him – Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and, of course, Daniel Craig? Here we take a look at the leading contenders to be the next James Bond (please note, it may leave you shaken AND stirred…
Next James Bond: Tom Hardy @ 6/5
There is no actor on this list with a bigger box office stock than Tom Hardy, who has appeared in blockbuster after blockbuster over the past several years while also playing a role in smash hit television show ‘Peaky Blinders’. He has not just stuck to playing one character too – Hardy has taken on a whole host of roles over the years to showcase every trait you would want from a potential James Bond. Hardy would be another great selection for 007, and it would be the first time that a genuine Hollywood superstar has signed on to play the super-spy.
Next James Bond: James Norton @ 9/4
James Norton has been able to show the range of acting skills with his appearances in ‘Happy Valley’, ‘War & Peace’ and ‘Grantchester’, and you only have to look at the Yorkshireman to see that he has ‘Next James Bond’ written all over him. He looks the part – a good looking guy that has charm and class. Norton is also 34 years of age so there is plenty of mileage in him as 007. Craig starred in five movies during a 14-year spell and that means Norton could fit in five before he even turns 50!
Next James Bond: Idris Elba @ 7/2
Is the world ready for the first ‘Black Bond’? It was six years ago that a leaked email suggested Idris Elba should be the next man to play 007, and since that date he has been a leading contender for the role with the bookmakers. Elba has denied ever hearing formally from Bond producers and he has previously played down his interest due to what comes with the role, but he more than fulfils every requirement you want in a James Bond. Ladies love him and he carries a coolness and suaveness that makes men want to be him. Hiring Elba would raise some eyebrows just because he does not fit the traditional Bond ‘look’, but the simple fact is Elba is a more than capable option and would be a fantastic choice. If it was my decision, Idris Elba would be introducing himself as “Bond… James Bond” in the 26th movie!
Next James Bond: Rege-Jean Page
The biggest mover in the market over Christmas was Rege-Jean Page – the star of Netflix’s smash hit raunchy period drama Bridgerton. The 31-year-old Londoner set pulses racing in the role of Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, and when I asked my other half if she could see him as James Bond her exact words were “oh my god, yes!” As a result I immediately hate him and do not want to see him holding the ‘licence to kill’. But seriously, he appears to have everything producers could want in an actor to play the role of 007 for the next decade or so and if they are looking to cast the first ever ‘Black James Bond’ then it could be Page who pips Idris Elba to the role. It is safe to say he would accept an offer, before Bridgerton premiered he posted on social media, “Regency, Royalty. Shaken and stirred”! He has certainly shaken the bookies, forcing them to slash his odds dramatically over the festive/New Year period.
Next James Bond: Richard Madden @ 7/1
Richard Madden has been a leading contender to be the next James Bond for quite some time and up until the next casting is confirmed, he will stay that way. In fact, it was not that long ago that reports were claiming the ‘Bodyguard’ star had already won the role! Madden had already shown some Bond ‘traits’ in previous roles, and it may well be his portrayal of David Budd in ‘Bodyguard’ that tips his chances of landing the licence to kill over the edge.
Next James Bond: Jack Lowden @ 8/1
Scotland, in my opinion, provided the world with the best James Bond in Sean Connery, but could another Scot be on the brink of taking on one of the most prestigious jobs in cinema? Jack Lowden has shown plenty of range so far, appearing in smash hit comedy ‘Fighting With My Family’ and World War 2 blockbuster ‘Dunkirk’, but is that enough to land him the Bond gig. He is a good-looking guy, but perhaps he lacks the more grizzled look you would expect from a potential Bond. Lowden will also need hair dye – Craig’s faced criticism at first for being a ‘blond Bond’ so there is a good chance there are going to be a few ‘ginger Bond’ comments if Lowden was given the job.
Next James Bond: Aidan Turner @ 10/1
Pierce Brosnan became the first Irishman to play James Bond in the 90s, could Aiden Turner become the second? He is a talented actor at the right age to play 007, but the one thing that may harm his chances is his stature. Turner’s career so far has been on the small screen and there will be questions as to whether or not he can translate his success to the big screen in the leading role of one of the biggest movie franchises of all time. Brosnan and Roger Moore were able to pull it off, but that does not mean it would be an easy task for Turner.
Next James Bond: Tom Hiddleston @ 11/1
Tom Hiddleston has been linked with the Bond job for several years now, and while his odds have fluctuated in that time he has never fallen out of contention. It probably did not help when reports claimed Barbara Broccoli was not keen because she found the actor “a bit too smug” and “not tough enough” to be the next 007, but his odds have shortened recently to suggest he remains a front-runner. Hiddleston has showcased his ability to play the part of spy though, thanks to his starring role in ‘The Night Manager’, and he is a big screen veteran with sizeable pulling power that has been a part of a huge franchise (Avengers).
Next James Bond: Jamie Bell @ 18/1
Yes, could Billy Elliot be the next James Bond? He has come a long way since his big break and he has shown his acting chops over the years, but for many he will always be Billy Elliot and that might put off Bond producers. To be honest, I am actually quite surprised that Bell is as short as 8/1 at the time of writing!