Many a spy thriller have come and gone on the big screen, especially over these past two decades, leaving audiences sitting on the edge of their seats as they worry over the hero’s fate, cheer him on so as to win the heart of the beautiful maiden or gasp with shock during that last final showdown with the murderous villain. These espionage films have generated a mind-blowing amount of money at the box office, as well as obtained a dedicated following of fans. While the heart of any good movie, regardless of the genre, is the story, the casting is arguably the second most important aspect. With that being said, there is one character in particular whose name will no doubt go down in history as one of the most iconic spies in movie franchise history: 007. Ian Fleming’s charming yet ruthless British intelligence agent is a character whose legacy will continue on for the foreseeable future. In fact, passing the torch over to a ‘new Bond’ is an inevitable rite of passage that comes with territory, when an actor signs on to play the role. In contrast to other spy franchises, James Bond is a character that will never be limited to the actor who is currently portraying them. For example, can anyone really imagine the Mission: Impossible series without Tom Cruise? Or the Bourne series without Matt Damon? Even the outrageous Austin Powers films couldn’t be what they are without the silly antics of Mike Meyers. But not 007. The list of actors who have and will play the MI6 agent can continue on as long as audiences want it to.
Regardless of this, it’s no secret that the James Bond franchise will be getting a new actor to carry on the iconic franchise very soon. Daniel Craig has signed on for one more movie dubbed Bond 25 as of now, but after that, the fate of the spy remains a mystery. Obviously, many fans and even the stars themselves have commented on who they’d like to see win the coveted role. I am no stranger to these dream castings myself, so I’ve put together a list of who I’d think could best fill the shoes of the British agent…
Though his Game of Thrones days are behind him, Richard Madden continues to take the entertainment world by storm despite the fact that he remains, in my opinion, vastly under appreciated by the industry. Madden has proved himself to be a gentleman both on and off screen, and he has no problem creating believable chemistry with practically any of his co-stars. His ability to convey his lines with a smooth passion is unparalleled and he never fails to leave audiences feeling something. Madden is no stranger to devoted fanbases or the daunting challenge of taking on such beloved roles. Through his portrayal of Robb Stark, the eldest of the Stark children in George R.R. Martin’s billion dollar fantasy world, and arguably the best person to rule the seven kingdoms, Madden expertly brought the fears of a budding young soldier to life, only to transform into a courageous king in the span of three short seasons. Madden conveys a multitude of emotions through his body language and his eyes in every one of his performances, and definitely has the acting chops and stunt experience- the latter seen in 2016’s Bastille Day– to convincingly play a suave though rather reckless MI6 agent. Not to mention, he’s gorgeous. I mean, have you seen his chiselled muscles? And his blue eyes and native Scottish accent is enough to give me serious heart palpitations. Madden has the emotional maturity to play a tortured hero-demonstrated in his latest role as Sergeant David Budd who struggles with PTSD and keeping his violent urges at bay in BBC One’s The Bodyguard-and enough experience and strength to carry the weight of a timeless franchise on his shoulders alone. Simply put, it’s a hell of a yes from me.
Despite his name being quite recognizable in the Marvel universe thanks to the captivating portrayal of Loki, to me, Tom Hiddleston is another serious contender in the running to inherit the role of Ian Flemings’ titular character. Perhaps a more well-known actor would do the franchise well; there is no doubt that Hiddleston has an avid fanbase (you should’ve seen the millions of tweets online after THAT scene in Infinity War) which would allow him to fill theaters easily. Not to mention the fact that he has experience in the realm of television, stage productions and in major Hollywood productions, which would enable him to bring invaluable experience and depth to the role. It also goes unchallenged that Hiddleston is a British gentleman in all aspects of the word, and that attitude is one of the character’s most defining qualities; it is what draws in the women, his colleagues, his adversaries as well as what gets him his way and out of trouble with M, his handler at MI6. However, Hiddleston is talented enough to flawlessly flip that switch when he’s in front of the camera, and dive into more serious and mysterious personas. This remarkable ability is illustrated in his roles as no-nonsense survival specialist James Conrad in Kong: Skull Island and as the creepy but enticing Lord Thomas Sharpe in Crimson Peak. Hiddleston’s ability to perform believable and enthralling stunts is evident in many of his works, such as the limited television series The Night Manager, where he played an ex-military man who ends up embedded in the inner circle of one of the world most dangerous weapon dealers. He’s definitely attractive, which is another plus, but Hiddleston also has this strange ability to make audiences like him, no matter what type of character he’s playing. 007 would be in good hands with him.
James Marsden has been in the acting business for a number of years, and has many a blockbuster under his belt, including the original X-Men trilogy where he played Scott Summers, Disney’s Enchanted and HBO’s hit series Westworld as irresistible cowboy Teddy Flood. Despite his impressive resume, Marsden is an actor who lives under the radar, similar to Richard Madden. So perhaps it is Marsden’s turn to step into the spotlight in the role of James Bond and remind the world that he is here to stay. The first thing anyone can notice about Marsden is his unwavering charm. He is able to draw in audiences simply by his presence on screen, and I constantly find myself eagerly waiting for his next scene whenever I watch one of his works-he’s that compelling. Plainly put, the man is extremely likable but stepping into 007’s shoes would be the perfect opportunity for him to show the world his many sides he has as an actor. Marsden is able to adapt to the atmosphere of any film he joins-whether it’s a family friendly comedy like 2011’s Hop, a chilly supernatural thriller such as The Box, or a historical piece like in his upcoming role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Now, some might say, James Bond is British! Marsden couldn’t possible play him, but nowadays, that detail hardly matters. It comes down to whether or not an actor can convincingly portray whoever they’re supposed to. The matter of an accent is not the end of the world. Marsden is familiar with dealing with the pressures of popular franchises, as well as giving one’s blessing to a newcomer. He did the same with actor Tye Sheridan, who plays young Scott Summers in the new batch of X-Men movies. Marsden is mature, dedicated to his characters, athletic and definitely handsome, and there’s no question in my mind that he’d be a wonderful addition to the franchise.
There you have it: my top three picks for the new James Bond . . . but you didn’t think I’d stop there, did you? No, I couldn’t possibly, not without mentioning my top picks for a Jane Bond. Yes, I did say Jane Bond. Thanks to the release of Wonder Woman in 2016 serving as a long-overdue spark, female directors, actors, producers and writers have been taking the entertainment world by storm, paving the way for a more equal Hollywood. 2017’s heist film Ocean’s 8 and the upcoming reboot of Charlie’s Angels, Captain Marvel and the Black Widow solo film that’s finally in pre-production, are all examples of how women are finally getting their turn in the spotlight to inspire the next generation to change the world. Therefore, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include three very talented women who I think are more than capable of stepping into the role of 007.
It’s safe to say that after seeing her nail the role of Lara Croft in 2017’s Tomb Raider reboot, I think Miss Vikander would be perfect in just about any action role. Her extremely impressive work ethic is undeniable, as seen through her academy award win for The Danish Girl and her rock-hard abs she showed off in Tomb Raider, not to mention she is an accomplished ballet dancer, which is an art that demands dedication, time, athleticism and a pinch of innate skill. Though she is smaller in stature, Vikander easily makes up for her lack of height in every other area of her job. She is perfectly capable of stepping into a lead role as well as shaking off the pressures and judgements of embodying an iconic film character. She has already been in a wide range of movies-and many of those have been action films such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Jason Bourne and Seventh Son. Vikander holds her own on screen no matter who she is working with; whether she is starring opposite of Matt Damon, Christopher Waltz or Kiera Knightly to name a few. She’s beautiful yet unassuming, elegant yet fierce. She is constantly willing to take on the challenge of complex characters and is nothing short of admirable for that, even though she’s a relative newbie to the business. Though I’m still hoping and praying that Tomb Raider will get the sequel it deserves, until then, I wholeheartedly believe that Miss Vikander is ready for her own series, and the I think the Bond franchise is the perfect way to go. She is already a role model to so many women-myself included-and taking on the role of the British spy would just solidify her place amongst the list of respectable, incredible female heroes of our time.
I definitely took my time when writing this article, mainly because not just everyone can play a kickass spy. But after some research, Jaimie Alexander’s name fell into my lap and I knew at once she should be in the running for 007. After seeing her light up the screen in the first two Thor movies as the independent and loyal warrior Lady Sif, her strong-mindedness and skillset in the midst of battle immediately impressed me. Thanks to Marvel, her 2013 film The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger and her hit show Blindspot, Alexander has an abundance of experience handling various weapons and performing fast-paced fight choreography against multiple opponents. Her beauty, which usually borders on the gothic, conveys a heavy air of seduction which 007 constantly uses to his advantage in order to obtain information and infiltrate the villain’s close ranks. Her confidence is evident both on and off screen and many times her male counterparts end up playing second fiddle to her as audience are more concerned with watching her, even if she is not one of the main characters. Not to mention the fact that she looks damn cool in leather jackets. . . and did I mention she rides a motorcycle in her spare time? If that alone isn’t enough to convince you she’s right for the role of Bond then, I don’t know what is.
Being me, I just had to include a Canadian actress in my list, so I chose none other than Evangeline Lilly. Throughout her career, Miss Lilly has been quite choosy about the projects she’s selected, which is commendable. There are enough actors out there who will simply take on roles just for the money, but I think the role of 007 would definitely fit in well on her resume. Her thoughtfulness regarding taking on new projects would serve her well, as there is no doubt she would work to understand Bond’s motivations, his (or in this case her) past, enemies and decisions, so she can illustrate all that turmoil on the big screen. Compared to Vikander and Alexander, Lilly is older, and her age and maturity would serve her well as the British agent and would allow her to bring a different sort of dimension to the character. Having to undergo sword and bow and arrow training for her role in The Hobbit trilogy as well as the months of fight and stunt choreography for the first Ant-Man movie, Lilly is clearly capable of kicking ass and taking name in an area of the entertainment industry that has been traditionally male-dominated. She’s in great shape and hard work isn’t something she’s afraid of. Last month, she stared in Ant-Man and the Wasp, becoming the first woman to portray a hero and have her name in a Marvel film’s title. So why should she not continue to shatter the glass-ceiling by stepping into the role of Bond? She’s beautiful, and her soulful eyes capable of display a vast range of emotions are enough to mesmerize any audience. She has the charisma and ambition to play Ian Fleming’s character, and I honestly think she would make him very proud. Also, she can wear suits better than most men can . . . I think it is high time that a Canadian is given the chance to wow the world as 007 and Miss Lilly is the one to do it.
No matter who the role of Bond is handed over to, I’m sure he or she will enthral movie-goers around the globe. As long as they leave audiences feeling a little shaken and stirred, then they’ve done their job.
By Kacy Hogg
Kacy is a college student living in the Great White North (no not Winterfell unfortunately) but Canada, where she graduated with a BHSc in Health Science and is currently studying English. She’s deeply in love with popcorn, French fries and anything Harry Potter related. When’s she’s not chugging back on tea, you can most likely find her at the cinema or tucked away in the corner of a bookstore. Her favorite films include the Harry Potter series (obviously!), Cinderella, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hangover, Casino Royale and Lady Bird. She’s also an avid binge-watcher of Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead. You can follow her on Twitter here: @KacHogg95
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