Is it time for another James Bond? Rumors have swirled since the release of Spectre last year that current James Bond actor Daniel Craig won’t be returning to the role in the next film in the franchise. Now, it looks like those reports might have some truth behind them.
Is Daniel Craig Done With James Bond?
Daniel Craig took over as James Bond in 2006, and Spectre marked his fourth movie in the role. The actor was originally brought in as part of a campaign to revitalize the franchise by rebooting it. Casino Royale, Craig’s first Bond flick, had none of the typical Bond gadgets and took the character back to before Bond became a double-O agent with a license to kill.
Craig’s reign as Bond has proven critically and financially lucrative, but at 48 years old, it seems Daniel Craig is not as interested in the role as he once was. During press for Spectre, Craig even said that he would rather “slash his wrists” than play the character again. Of course, Craig later stated his response was so negative because he had just finished doing Spectre and needed a break.
In the controversial interview, Daniel Craig also said if he returned to the role of James Bond, he would only be doing it for the money, but it seems that money isn’t enough either. The actor reportedly turned down a $100 million dollar (£68 million) offer to do two more Bond movies. However, that news broke via the tabloid The Daily Mail, and the BBC has since stated that Daniel Craig has made no decision on whether to return or not.
Producer Barbara Broccoli said of the rumors, “I hope we can continue with Daniel. I love him, obviously not just me but also the audience. I will try my best to keep him on.”
Some have speculated that Craig could have turned the offer down in order to get more money, particularly since MGM is clearly set on having Craig return for the 25th movie in the Bond franchise. While the film company wanted to release the new Bond movie in 2017, plans were reportedly pushed back to accommodate Daniel Craig’s shooting schedule for the limited-run TV series Purity.
Complicating the matter even further is the fact that Christoph Waltz, who took on the iconic Bond villain role of Blofeld in Spectre, is rumored to only be interested in returning to the role if Craig also returns. With so much riding on Daniel Craig, it’s no wonder MGM is willing to bend over backward for him.
A New James Bond: Who Could Take Over?
Meanwhile, rumors have picked up that The Avengers star Tom Hiddleston will be taking over as James Bond. Supposedly, Hiddleston recently met with Sam Mendes, director of the most recent two Bond films. There are many explanations for this meeting – though Hiddleston’s reps have said it didn’t happen at all – including the fact that Mendes and Hiddleston know each other from previous projects. And of course, Mendes is rumored not to be returning as director of Bond 25.
Still, betting on Hiddleston has picked up in the UK in the last several days, so much so that bookmakers have stopped taking bets on Hiddleston, which usually only happens when something is practically a sure thing.
For his part, Tom Hiddleston has denied the rumors of his involvement with the James Bond franchise, pointing to his recent role in The Night Manager miniseries, which puts the actor in a spy-like role, and the BBC claims that “no decision is likely to be made for a while” on the future of James Bond.
Other actors rumored for the role are Damian Lewis (Homeland, Billions), Aidan Turner (The Hobbit film series, Being Human), and Idris Elba (Luther, Pacific Rim).
Elba, in particular, has long since denied any truth to these claims, saying he doesn’t even want to talk about the possibility of playing James Bond. He told The Telegraph, “At first it was harmless – oh, I know, wouldn’t it be great? – and now it’s started off racial debates. I’m probably the most famous Bond actor in the world, and I’ve not even played the role. Enough is enough. I can’t talk about it any more.”
Should Anyone Play James Bond?
As it turns out, although Bond is a high-profile role, successful stars like Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba may want to think twice before saying yes. FiveThirtyEight claims that, with the exception of Sean Connery, every actor who has played James Bond has experienced a downturn in their career after involvement in the Bond franchise.
In the five years after playing Bond, as compared to the five years pre-Bond, the James Bond actors received lower IMDB ratings and fewer movie roles. The website offers many theories about why Bond actors experience this phenomenon, including my favorite explanation: reduced opportunities for older actors in the movie industry.
Regardless of whether James Bond is a losing proposition for an actor, someone has to play the role. MGM says Bond has never been stronger or more lucrative, calling it one of “the most valuable film franchises in the world.”
Clearly, with or without Daniel Craig, James Bond will go on. The 25th Bond movie is expected to reach theaters in 2018 or 2019.
Should the Bond franchise continue with Craig or is it time to faze him out and bring in a new actor? Is Tom Hiddleston a good bet? Idris Elba? Or should MGM get an unknown for the role of a lifetime: Bond, James Bond?