The Search for the New James Bond Is Officially Underway, and It’s Gonna Be a Long One
Speculation about who will take over the James Bond role has reached the fever pitch it always does when there is a passing of the license to kill, even if the current decision is still way out on the horizon. With Daniel Craig’s final performance as 007 in 2021’s No Time to Die firmly in the rearview, longtime Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have been speaking about what the future of their family business might look like.
In a September 21 interview with Variety, Broccoli and Wilson revealed what the process of finding a new franchise star entails, and why it can be difficult finding a performer who is willing to sign on for the long haul.
“The thing is, it’s going to be a couple of years off,” Broccoli told Variety. “And 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].”
Idris Elba has long been brought up by fans—but Elba is 50, and a middle-aged Bond seems like a non-starter, as does a young one. Wilson told the British Film Institute, “We’ve tried looking at younger people in the past. But trying to visualize it doesn’t work. Remember, Bond’s already a veteran. He’s had some experience. He’s a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He’s probably been in the SAS or something. He isn’t some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off. That’s why it works for a thirty-something.”
In that same conversation, which was covered by Deadline, Wilson explained that they always use the same romantic scene that’s “tough to do” when screen-testing a potential new Bond. “[It’s] the one in From Russia With Love, where Bond comes back to his room after the assassination, and he starts taking off his shirt, goes into the room to bathe. Then he hears something, takes his gun, goes in and the girl’s in the bed.”
During the producers’ joint Variety interview, Broccoli spoke about how rare the opportunity to play James Bond is–only six actors have done it, –and that the character needs to update and stay relevant with the cultural moment. “Bond is evolving just as men are evolving,” she explained. “I don’t know who’s evolving at a faster pace.”
To that end, there have been calls for more diverse casting in the role. Lashana Lynch’s MI6 agent received the 007 designation in No Time to Die, though her character was obivously not Bond. There has never been a Black man in the role of James Bond, though names like Bridgerton’s Rene-Jean Page, Daniel Kaluuya, and Damson Idris have all been popular suggestions among fans. John Boyega, who broke boundaries as a part of the Star Wars franchise, has said he’d be interested if he was asked, but he expressed doubt that we’ll see a Black Bond anytime soon.
One of the major behind-the-scenes changes in the Bond universe is that Amazon now owns MGM, giving the platform access to the entire franchise back catalog as part of a staggering $8.5 billion deal, and as of October 5, all of the movies are available to stream on Prime Video,. The streaming platform will also air the first-ever Bond based reality competition series, with Broccoli and Wilson as producers—007’s Road to a Million will pit competitors against one another for the titular £1 million as they travel through iconic Bond locations and perform physical and intellectual challenges.
Someone who is not terribly interested in the future of the Bond franchise? Former 007 Pierce Brosnan, who told British GQ, “Who should do it? I don’t care,” before wishing the to-be-named next performer the best of luck.
And more from the week in celebrity grooming. By The Editors of GQ December 4, 2022 PATRICK T. FALLON/Getty Images…