First Idris Elba and now Gillian Anderson. You can’t get more extreme than that in the ongoing Internet parlor game to succeed Daniel Craig as the next James —sorry, Jane — Bond. Last week the “X-Files” star became the first female Bond contender by topping #NextBond, complete with fan-made poster, and her own enthusiastic approval.
Female power might be fueling the “Ghostbusters” (July 15) and “Oceans 11” reboots, but don’t look for such a progressive move to take over the Bond franchise. Just look at how controversial the Elba choice has been to be the first black Bond (first proposed by former Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal).
Incidentally, in last month’s Betway Group sports betting line, Elba tied for third (4/1) with Damian Lewis (“Billions”) behind Tom Hardy (6/5) and Tom Hiddleston (2/1). The list also included Superman Henry Cavill (11/2) and Magneto Michael Fassbender (12/1).
The difficulty with this list, of course, is that Elba’s still the only one with the charisma and gravitas that cries out: Bond! If only we could truly be color-blind when it comes to casting the world’s most famous superspy. By the way, for those concerned about Elba’s age, he’d be 45 (the same age as Roger Moore when he stepped into “Live and Let Die”) if “Bond 25” came out in 2017.
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As for the others, Hardy’s certainly tough enough, but perhaps too similar overall to Craig, and, at 5’9″, he’d be the shortest Bond in history. Hiddleston certainly looked promising as a spy recruit in the John le Carré adaptation “The Night Manager,” but has overly soft features. Lewis looks a bit too sinister, while both Cavill (who lost out to Craig for being too young) and Fassbender are probably non-starters for being associated with other iconic characters, which is a no-no for Bond consideration.
Then again, the choice of Craig came as a complete surprise nearly 11 years ago when everyone presumed that Clive Owen (“Croupier”) was a slam dunk. So you have to consider the possibility of another under the radar choice on the part of producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson.
Which brings us to the reality of the current situation: the Bond franchise is in a holding pattern with Craig burned out after four outings, coinciding with the expiration of the Sony deal, which might mean a new studio home. Hence, all of this speculation about a replacement. But make no mistake: Broccoli and Wilson are going to do everything in their power to resign Craig, who is the first Bond actor to be given a co-producer credit. That means signing a director he wants to work with and crafting a script that rejuvenates his passion to continue.
Yes, Craig’s Bond attained a sense of closure and happiness at the end of “Spectre.” But do you really think Bond can be domesticated? And what happens when Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) escapes?
Or, as Sean Connery once reminded us: “Never say never!”