The curators of James Bond admit they’re struggling to find someone to fill the Saville Row suit, quip the murder-related puns, and redeem the sexist, imperialist 60-year-old hero for today’s audience.
As Variety reports, although Bond remains a rare prize for an actor—a pre-sold action hero with guaranteed sequels and dope-ass wardrobe and no lycra tights—producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson say they’ve nonetheless found themselves pitching potential actors rather than sitting back and fielding requests from legions of ruggedly suave males hoping to strap on 007’s Walther PPK.
“The thing is, it’s going to be a couple of years off,” Broccoli said. “And when we cast Bond, it’s a 10-, 12-year commitment. So he’s probably thinking, ‘Do I really want that thing?’ Not everybody wants to do that.”
Though fan-fave contender Idris Elba would clearly kill those tailored suits and martini-dry quips, the British actor has said he doesn’t see 007 when he “looks in the mirror,” and 50 is a bit long in the tooth to sign on for this ride. “We love Idris,’ Broccoli says, but, again, “it’s going to be a couple of years off and when we cast Bond,” and the producers have their hearts set on a guy who’ll stick by them for a decade or more.
“It was hard enough getting [Daniel Craig to do it].” Wilson interjects. “And he was in his early 30s at the time!” And though his performances rejuvenated the franchise, his off-screen enthusiasm reportedly did not grown over the course of six films.
“With [Craig], when we had the conversation at this very table about, you know, [whether he was] going to do it, he said, ‘Well, I’m going to do it. I really want to be a part of it, the whole thing.’ And he lived to regret that,” Broccoli told Variety.
Broccoli and Wilson revealed that most young actors who think they want to do Bond don’t comprehend the commitment involved. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh yeah, it’d be fun to do one,” Broccoli said. “Well. That ain’t gonna work.”
She described an ongoing process of developing the character himself. “It’s not just about casting an actor for a film. It’s about a reinvention, and ‘Where are we taking it? What do we want to do with the character?’ And then, once we figure that out, who’s the right person for that particular reinvention?”
While there have been some rumblings that the next Bond might very well be a woman, the recent interview seemed to dispel this.
“It’s an evolution,” Broccoli says of the character. “Bond is evolving just as men are evolving. I don’t know who’s evolving at a faster pace.”
She applauded Craig’s work in “[cracking] Bond open emotionally,” giving us access to his inner life. “The films over his tenure were the first time we really connected the emotional arc.” (Apparently, someone hasn’t seen the Timothy Dalton entries.)
Whoever does end up in the role, the more years they put between the new Bond and the name “Pussy Galore” can only help.