The Next James Bond

On my 100th post I said that this would be an upcoming post. It’s languished in drafts for quite a while waiting for me to finish it, I figured it was about time I did so and pressed publish.

Daniel Craig has reportedly signed on for another two films after Skyfall, so they won’t be looking for the new actor just yet. However, for years I’ve had an actor in mind who I would love to take the role on. I’ve said this to people I know and been laughed at. However, this is my blog, you are free to laugh at me, but at least I can finish and say my piece.

I’ve been re-watching Hustle lately, it’s something I do relatively often. I don’t watch much British TV, it’s different from the US drama that I love, and I don’t like it all that much. However, Hustle is amazing, it’s American in it’s production really, it’s had some off episodes and it’s sadly not being made anymore, but I can watch it and rewatch it and it’s just as good everytime. The lead actor for this show (except for season 4) was Adrian Lester.

Can you see where I’m going with this now? Yeah, my vote for the next James Bond goes to – Adrian Lester.

But He’s Black?
Yes Adrian Lester is black and I don’t care. I remember the fuss when Daniel Craig was cast because his hair is blond rather than dark. However, given how short he wore it in Skyfall, it’s hardly noticeable. That is besides the point though, there was a hell of a fuss over a hair color. I didn’t and I still don’t understand what the problem was. Yes Ian Fleming described Bond as dark haired but so what?

I was reading an article the other day about Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. It said that Downey had signed on for the Avengers 2 and 3 but hadn’t signed to do an Iron Man 4. The person from the studio who commented said something like “I don’t see why Iron Man can’t be like James Bond”. By that he meant not tied to a specific actor, so the series has gone on and on, for 50 years, rather than ending when Sean Connery hung it up. I have to say I sort of disagree, Downey is Iron Man, it would be so weird if someone else played him. However, I do wonder whether Bond fans felt the same about Connery, that was long before I was born so I don’t know, but in all likelihood they did.

Every time a new actor becomes James Bond it marks the start of a different era, the franchise gets a reboot. In the case of Daniel Craig taking over from Pierce Brosnan it was quite a big shift. Brosnan had done classic Bond with the gadgets, and the comedy rather than the grit. Craig has taken it back to a more realistic grounding. Doctor Who, another British institution, works on the same principle. The doctor reinvents himself when another actor takes over.

Progress has been made faster in the last century, then any other century before it. Times are markedly different now so when Bond was created it was very much a different world. However, as a franchise he has lived on, through the reinvention, the rebooting, he has stayed relevant. I very much doubt whether Fleming ever imagined his character would live on as long as it has. Even if he did he was a man of his own time, and no psychic, so how could he see the world that Bond would have to deal with. So the Bond he created was several Bond’s ago, we’ve moved on and Flemings character is, and can be, something else entirely. So whatever Fleming described can change as physical characteristics don’t make the character.

A few things about the character are inviolate. He is British, he is an orphan, he is a smooth womanizer, he has what was described in Casino Royale as a chip on his shoulder, and he gets the job done even if not strictly according to orders. A fact I didn’t list, as I’m not sure it’s that important, is a posh education. So much of Britain is controlled by those who went to the “right” schools, when actually most of the population went to regular school. Basically Bond just has to be Bond in his actions and mannerisms, so long as it adds up and gels then how he became who he is could easily change. It’s not the details that are important after all, it’s just who he is – he’s Bond. So it doesn’t matter what he looks like so long as he acts the part.

So why would he make a good Bond?
Have you seen Hustle? Adrian Lester looks very sharp in a suit, a must be for a wannabe Bond. He’s very smooth, very suave and quite intellectual. I think that he would make a good Bond, one that thinks a little before he leaps. Daniel Craig’s scene in Skyfall where he got himself captured, only to get the location of the bad guy is a reasonable example of this. The direction of the series is going for a realistic edge, it still has some of the old fun in it, but it’s been brought bang up to date with modern times. So having a Bond that could think, plan, strategise, rather than just running in guns blazing, would be a nice development.

He would still have to do the guns blazing part, so how about action? Well the one good thing about Hustle is that due to it being about grifters, these grifters play a wide variety of roles. So they play their character, then they also play their character playing other characters. It really showcases an actors capabilities. He would be extremely good at any undercover scenes, he can do accents, he change his mannerisms, he can change his whole vibe with just a wardrobe change. However, that’s still not action. The simple answer is I don’t know as truth be told I haven’t seen him in anything other than Hustle. The first Hustle episode had him with a gun in his hand, which didn’t look weird (some actors just don’t look right with guns) but that was more of an assassination scene rather than a shootout. Given his good physical condition, and his talent as an actor, I think he would be excellent at this. I mean if you look at the physical condition of some previous Bonds, he’s already got a strong advantage. Plus there’s how he can just change. His whole face goes blank except for his eyes, and then you remember that Mickey Bricks was sent to prison for setting about his wife’s lover with a baseball bat. We didn’t see this violence, but I can sense the capability, and so if Adrian Lester can hint at it when he’s playing Mickey, I see no reason why he couldn’t actually do it when playing Bond.

How about womanizing? Well if there’s one thing Hustle proved it was that Lester could be charming. He’s good looking, very smooth as I’ve already said, I’ve seen him deliver some cheesy lines and it’s not looked awkward. He’s had to do a couple of romance scenes so he’s ok with kissing co-stars. He’s refined, I can see him kissing the backs of hands as part of the seduction.

What counts against him?
His age is a problem. Actors tend to hang up the Bond hat when they feel they are getting too old to be convincing. Sometimes they use the excuse that they want to do something new, sometimes the film company will want someone new to try and pump new life into it. However, the mantle usually passes to someone younger than the current Bond. Now I didn’t realise this but Adrian Lester was born in 1968, the same year as Daniel Craig, which makes him the same age and not younger like I thought he was.

I really hope that this doesn’t count him out completely though it might. Colin Salmon was rumored to ┬áhave been considered for the part, but he’s in his fifties now, and ruled too old to start playing Bond. Would the same be said for Lester once Daniel Craig has made two more films? I seriously hope not, can they at least let him audition? I do honestly think he would be perfect.

I’m not going to touch the hot potato of what could count against him, as I don’t think it should matter as I mentioned above. Perhaps given the uproar over hair colour, the studio won’t want to rock the boat. I mean they have investors or shareholders they are accountable too and change is always difficult.

Conclusion
Well I’m hopelessly biased as I obviously think it’s a great idea. However, I doubt that it’ll ever happen however much I want it too. His age will rule him out even if nothing else does. I don’t know who the next James Bond really will be, maybe it’ll be a young unknown, or as Daniel Craig has 2 films left someone that makes a name for themselves in the next few years. About the only thing I can be pretty sure about is that after Daniel Craig there will be another James Bond, another actor will walk across the screen, turn and shoot that gun. I will always have my Hustle DVD’s, they should have done a big screen adaptation of that really, or at least made more than eight seasons. I digress as I’ve run out of things to say. If the public could vote for the next Bond I would definitely do a write in for Adrian Lester. Watch Hustle and see if you agree with me that he’d be perfect, at the very least you’ll get to enjoy the show.

1 thought on “The Next James Bond

  1. Idris Elba would be my choice in the same vein, he’d be an interesting take as well and needs a franchise of his own.

    My dark horse pick (especially since he’s American by birth) is Philip Winchester, currently on Strike Back… he can obviously do the action but also carries some gravitas while being able to banter and pull off one-liners.

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