The James Bond 007 film franchise has proven extremely resilient. Its popularity is global. And after Daniel Craig and the only true Bond hero left after her father died, Barbara Broccoli rebooted it with astonishing and box office explosive results, you might be thinking that the end is nowhere near. But United Artists, or more generally MGM/UA has come close to tanking it before, and it looks like they’re about to do it again. The cutesy and beautiful face above could be their downfall.
Ian Fleming wrote twelve Bond novels. All of which became films starting with Dr. No in 1962. Ian Fleming had his own background in the British secret service to inform his excellent fiction. He had worked for MI5 during WWII. Now most of us know that James Bond works for MI6. No one besides those who have worked for this intelligence agency and the PM knows what their practices and operations are. Only about twenty years ago did the UK even acknowledge it existed, which was a little of a joke there, as Fleming had spilled some of the beans decades earlier. And no, that very nice looking building you see in all of them since The World is Not Enough isn’t their headquarters. VERY few people know where that is. I believe that’s actually a hotel. 4 star by the look of it. But I digress.
Here’s the problem. Daniel Craig was only contracted to do 4 films. And there are major negotiation issues with getting him to do any more. I can’t blame him. The role has never paid very well. And his prior resume makes him quite immune to type-casting. He could jump off this into the realm of being paid $20-30 million per film. Tom Hardy didn’t waste a second after his role in Star Trek Nemesis. Roger Moore practically died on the set of his final one (not really, but he looked about 80). Sean Connery became so tired of doing it that during the filming of You Only Live Twice (mostly because it was shot in Japan. And they are in out-of-control love with Bond) he famously said “never again.” That turned into a nice little windfall for Sony. You see, the rights to every Bond novel, even the famous Bond theme music are owned by MGM/UA. Except for one. Thunderball. Some smart gentleman (I don’t bother to remember his name; it’s in Wikipedia) bought the rights to that one book, but it was already a film. And there’s not much one can do with that. But along came Sony. With a rather outlandish idea: remake it, under a different name and using Connery. He hadn’t done one for almost 20 years. But since everyone had heard his now famous words of “never again” it was perfect to title it Never Say Never Again. It had a “bigger” cast. Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Max Von Sydow (aka the Exorcist). Better than they (MGM/UA) could do then.
Now they’re doing absolutely everything perfectly. The casting, the screenplays, shit the TITLE SONGS. Two of them won an Oscar. Back to back. Bond films never won anything before. This position Craig has Barbara Broccoli in (over a barrel) could break this thing for a long time. Maybe permanently. Just please give him whatever he wants! Because I’ve been hearing some extremely disturbing options floated.
Idris Elba. Ok. Bond just went from brown hair and brown eyes to blonde/blue. That ended up working fine. But going African-English might be a bit too jarring. Bond DOES have a general stereotype connected to the character. He certainly has the skillset. No one would doubt that he could do a great job. Just not sure if this is the right job for him.
Some people I’m not familiar with because they primarily inhabit British tv.
Tom Hardy. Sure. You won’t give Craig $25 million per film, but you’ll be needing a lot more to acquire him. But definitely not a bad option.
But now the best possible option: Michael Fassbender. His career has multiple type-casts already. He’s Magneto until Marvel stops doing the younger X-Men, and that will be quite some time. He looks the part. He moves the part. He oozes it from every orifice. He’s on her list.
And now, the option that could doom it like a hundred Peirce Brosnans. Tom (Loki) Hiddleston. He just looks like a child in a tuxedo. That right there is all you need to know. But let’s look at his “acting.” Thor. Well congratulations Tom! You’ve been a secondary character in 2 films widely seen in the US! Yes, you’re very English. But you look as scrawny as I am. You also are a major ham. You overplay every role I’ve seen you in. You’re not James fucking Bond.
Other options are Jason Statham (I’ll just stop seeing or buying them). Damian Lewis (I don’t have any idea about this guy.) And Henry Cavill. I suppose Superman being Bond is ok. Though sort of a joke after the recent Batman v. Superman mangled mess of a comedy.
Bottom line is that this decision is always critical. The actor can make or break the franchise for lengthy periods. Let’s just hope Barbara Broccoli makes two excellent choices back to back. Your title songs did it. I know you’re extremely smart. Your father didn’t leave the franchise in your hands for no reason. Don’t “cock” it up now.