They may make an awful lot of noise at Eon Productions about how the new James Bond search will not start quickly, and how they will not be producing another movie in a hurry. You can bet, though, that outline stories are already being looked at, business plans are being spun up and a list of possible candidates for 007 is already on Barbara Broccoli’s office wall.
Showbiz reporters may be notorious for just making things up, or from spinning a yard of story out of an inch of material, but one who has been reliable in the past is Ross King of the UK TV channel ITV, particularly when it comes to 007. He recently said that one big decision has been made – 007s age in the new iteration of Bond.
Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are looking for a younger Bond. This is a decision driven from their desire to have the option for their choice of actor stick around for a number of years in the role.
Sean Connery was 32 when he first played Bond. George Lazenby was just 30 years old. Roger Moore was 45, the oldest Bond to date. Timothy Dalton was 41 and Pierce Brosnan was 42. Daniel Craig was 38. The character of Bond was only specifically aged once in Fleming, in the second novel Moonraker, where he is 37 years old and already an experienced operative.
King recently said on television that the producers are looking for somebody who is in their 30’s.
This immediately rules out much discussed runners such as Outlander star Sam Heughan (42), Idris Elba (49), Tom Hardy (44) and probably serial fan favorite Henry Cavill as he is 39 already. Also out would be Dan Stevens (39), Alex O’Loughlin (45) and Aidan Turner (39). That thins the field pretty dramatically and takes out most of the favoured betting candidates with the bookies.
At 34, Rege-Jean Page would still be in the running alongside Nicholas Hoult (32) or Richard Madden (34).
Daniel Craig did over 15 years as Bond and with the gap between movies not likely to come down as the technical and commercial demands increase, they will be looking for somebody capable of similar stint if they are successful in the role. This probably skews the search even younger than under 40, and pushes it to under 35. Ross said:
“At the end of the day they want someone who will be Bond for (at least) the next three movies. For the franchise, they want someone who will carry it through the same way Daniel Craig did it.”
Another pre-requisite is height. All Bond’s except Craig have been over 6 feet tall. Craig was 5′ 10″. The producers will apparently not entertain anyone shorter than Craig, which rules out Tom Hardy on a second count, too.