It seems that after four films, Daniel Craig is bringing his groundbreaking run as James Bond to an end. Now the search for a new 007 begins, and several British actors are reportedly in talks with Eon Productions to become the Seventh Bond. Here’s a look at the top contenders and the performances that may prove they are worthy of being Craig’s successor.
Idris Elba has achieved critical and popular acclaim with a variety of roles ranging from “Beasts of No Nation” to “Zootopia.” Elba has the charisma needed for Bond’s debonair personality and the gravitas for the more dramatic moments that have become commonplace in Bond films since Craig took over.
Bond Material: “Luther” — Bond is a character who will go to any lengths to get the job done and isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers at MI6 in the process. Elba’s Luther is the same, catching and punishing criminals in a manner that…well…let’s just say isn’t following the letter of the law.
Tom Hiddleston has quickly become the odds-on favorite since it was first reported he was in talks to become Bond, and that’s no surprise. Hiddleston’s got the suave grace and smile of Pierce Brosnan and the same educational pedigree of Bond, with both spending their formative years at Eton College.
Bond Material: Hiddleston could be another Brosnan-esque Bond if Eon called for it, but his recent performance in “The Night Manager” proves he should follow Craig’s style. He’s dangerously violent. He seduces women who later get killed for associating with him. He’s got sex appeal even when he’s brawling and uncovering conspiracies. Hiddleston can pick up where Craig left off without a hitch.
Damian Lewis has been in the discussion for the role since before “Spectre” came out. He’s not quite as well-known as Hiddleston or Elba, but has made a name for himself as one of the stars of “Homeland” and “Billions” on Showtime.
Bond Material: We may be able to see what Lewis can do with the spy genre when he stars in the adaptation of John Le Carre‘s “Our Kind of Traitor,” in which he plays a government fixer in charge of providing safe passage to a money launderer on the run from a violent crime lord.
Jamie Bell is best known for his debut as a kid in “Billy Elliot,” but he’s also been in films like “The Adventures of Tintin” and “Snowpiercer.” At age 30, he would be a notable turn from the slightly older actors who have played Bond in the past.
Bond Material: Whether it’s “From Russia With Love” or “Spectre,” Bond films have been filled with claustrophobic train fight scenes. Bell got his practice fighting on a moving choo-choo in “Snowpiercer.”
Aidan Turner is a relatively unknown actor outside of Britain, which is par for the course when it comes to Bond casting. Sean Connery was an under-the-radar pick, and Craig had only just started to gain mainstream fame with “Munich” when he became 007.
Bond Material: Turner’s claim to fame is his performance as Captain Ross Poldark in the BBC series “Poldark.” If this series were any indication, a Bond played by Turner would be a mix of Connery’s seductive charm and Timothy Dalton‘s brooding, rebellious intensity.
James Norton is the most unknown of the Bond candidates, partly by his own design. He has gone on record saying that he’s not interested in heading off to Hollywood yet. But while Eon Productions is based in England, becoming the next Bond would surely put him on the fast track to getting offers from the big studios in L.A.
Bond Material: Beyond his roguish good looks, there’s not much about Norton’s work that immediately presents a case for him being a fit for Bond. His most famous role is in the British TV series “Grantchester,” where he plays a priest who takes up an odd side job as a volunteer detective with the police. Maybe that’s a sign that he’s good with a script that involves following a breadcrumb trail like James Bond always does? We’re reaching here.
Outside these six contending men, there’s the movement on the Internet calling for a female Bond. This contingent seems to have rallied around “X-Files” star Gillian Anderson, who retweeted a picture of herself in a fan-made 007 poster. Unfortunately for these fans, there’s been no serious talks for a “Jane Bond” at this time. Even if there were, Anderson would probably be out of the running because she is American.