James Bond won’t be a young chap anytime soon.
Franchise casting director Debbie McWilliams detailed the criteria to play 007, citing that younger stars lack the “mental capacity” to transform into 007, in a recent Radio Times interview. (Henry Cavill and Sam Heughan were, according to director Martin Campbell, considered before Daniel Craig was cast in “Casino Royale.”)
“When we started, it was a slightly different feel,” McWilliams, who has worked on the films since 1981, said. “We did look at a lot of younger actors, and I just don’t think they had the gravitas. They didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the mental capacity to take it on, because it’s not just the part they’re taking on, it’s a massive responsibility.”
McWilliams added, “So we kind of scrubbed that idea and went back to the drawing board and started again.”
Craig was in his mid-30s at the time of being cast as Bond. He continued portraying the MI6 agent until “No Time to Die” in 2021.
Craig’s rising talent was also a factor in the casting.
“Timothy Dalton was known, but he was known as a Shakespearean actor, really. Pierce [Brosnan] was known, but that was basically from television. Roger Moore was known from television. Sean Connery wasn’t [known] – nobody had ever heard of him,” McWilliams said of the franchise’s history. “A certain audience had heard of Daniel Craig, but much more the kind of independent cinema audience. He hadn’t done any huge commercial film at all, really – [2004 film] ‘Layer Cake’ I suppose was the most popular, should we say, of the things he had done prior to Bond, but he wasn’t a hugely well-known actor.”
Producer Michael G. Wilson confirmed in October 2022 that the next Bond will be a “veteran” of the spy world.
“We’ve tried looking at younger people in the past,” Wilson said. “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 30-something.”
“Bridgerton” breakout Regé-Jean Page, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Tom Hardy have been rumored to be on the shortlist for the role. However, the next Bond film is at least two years away.