It’s been seven years since No Time to Die first entered production and we’re no closer to finalising who the next actor to take up the mantle of James Bond is, a recent interview reveals.
No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond film and Daniel Craig’s last stint as the famous fictional spy, did something no other Bond film has ever done (SPOILER ALERT): it killed off James Bond, giving Craig the chance to depart from the role and hand over the mantle to fresh blood.
It marked an end of an era: Craig is officially the longest-serving Bond, having filled 007’s shoes for 15 years across 5 films. It’s a hard act to follow. Craig brought a grittiness yet vulnerability to the role that really transformed James Bond from a foppish lothario to a hardcore man of action.
You’d think, then, considering how long it took No Time to Die to hit cinemas and how important finding a suitable successor to Craig is, that the film franchise’s producers would have locked someone down ages ago. Not so, it turns out – indeed, they’ve barely even started looking, as it turns out.
During an interview with LADbible on the red carpet at the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards last week, Barbara Broccoli – daughter of legendary Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, current Bond producer and co-owner of EON Productions – said that, despite all of the rumours about the next 007, “we haven’t even started casting yet. There isn’t even a script.”
This might be a bit of a head-scratcher for some Bond fans, but Broccoli has explained that casting Bond isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
“It’s an evolution: Bond is evolving just as men are evolving. I don’t know who’s evolving at a faster pace,” she told Variety last September.
She also explicitly mentioned Idris Elba, who fans have long tipped to be the best next Bond, downplaying her interest in getting him as 007. (Elba himself has also suggested he’s not that interested in being Bond, as he’s too committed to his current long-term role as Detective John Luther.)
“We love Idris. The thing is, [the casting decision] is going to be a couple of years off,” she said.
“When we cast Bond, it’s a 10-12 year commitment. So he’s probably thinking, ‘do I really want that thing?’ Not everybody wants to do that. It was hard enough getting [Daniel Craig to do it]!”Barbara Broccoli
“It’s not just about casting an actor for a film. It’s about a reinvention… More people have walked on the moon than have played James Bond,” she points out.
It’s not a complete mystery about who they want as the next James Bond, however: Broccoli has given plenty of hints and insights into who they’re looking for to play the martini-sipping MI6 agent.
We know Broccoli wants the actor to be in their 30s – “[Bond] isn’t some kid out of high school,” she’s said – but she also doesn’t want someone too old, considering how long of a commitment playing Bond is. (That’s also probably another reason why Broccoli doesn’t want Idris Elba: he’s 50.)
She’s also said that James Bond has to be male (squashing the other big rumour that they might try and do a female Bond) telling The Guardian “he’s a male character… he was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male, and that’s fine. We don’t have to turn male characters into women. Let’s just create more female characters and make the story fit those female characters.”
Although, she’s also said that she would be open to the idea of a non-binary Bond, so who knows…
We also know that Broccoli’s more focused on finding the next Bond villain first rather than Bond himself because the villain is the character that drives the story… An interesting way to approach it, but it kind of makes sense.
There are plenty of actors who’ve got their hats in the ring to be Bond, too (or at least plenty who fans would like to see as 007), including Bullet Train’s Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Fantastic Beasts’ Eddie Redmayne, Top Gun: Maverick’s Miles Teller and even Bane himself, the legendary Tom Hardy.
At least for now, however, the rumour mill will just have to keep on spinning…