James Bond - the actors who woulda, coulda, (arguably) shoulda and may well still be James Bond

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After much speculation over who would be playing the next Bond, it has been announced that Daniel Craig will be reprising the role one last time for the 2020 film that is due for release on Valentines Day of that year. The film franchise is having a surprise shake-up however, with Oscar winning director loosing Danny Boyle due to ‘creative differences’ with MGM, and is being replaced by Cary Fukunaga who already has a versatile ray of credits to his name, including True Detective and the critically acclaimed Netflix original, Beasts of No Nation staring Idris Elba.

But whilst the 007 franchise’s 25th film has it’s lead and director, it still leaves open the question of who will take over from Craig in the 26th rendition of the popular series.  With the film’s producer Barbara Broccoli saying that the "door is open" for a black Bond in a future film, it may well leave the door open for further speculation over actor Idris Elba taking over the role, particularly if Fukunaga stays on to direct future films with the pair working together previously. But he is not the only actor rumoured to be in the running, or that has been considered for the role in the past.

We are having a look at the actors who woulda, coulda, (arguably) shoulda and may well still be Bond, the fictional British spy.

Idris Elba

It’s been speculated for many years that Idris Elba would be playing Bond, causing much conversation and controversy with it meaning he would be the first black actor to play the role. The nation was split, many loving the idea of the Luther and Mandela star taking over from Daniel Craig, thinking it would give the franchise a breath of fresh air, but others weren’t so keen in moving away from the white, Scottish ‘Bond’ originally written. Idris has toyed with the idea, even teasing fans with a cryptic tweet, ‘the names Elba, Idris Elba’ feeding into the rumours further. He seemed to shut these rumours down at the premier of Yardie, his directorial debut, when asked by Good Morning Britain reporter Divya Kohli, whether she was looking at the next 007 – he simply replied ‘no’.

If you are as disappointed as we are about Idris not staring in the next Bond, you can find some of his best titles in our collection dedicated to the man himself.

Tom Hiddleston

The British actor has been making quite a name for himself in Hollywood – there was the disastrous short-lived romance with Taylor Swift which made him known to younger fans after (embarrassingly) being pictured in a ‘I love T.S’ top (if you’d asked us Tom, we’d have told you it would all end it tears!) and of course, his role in the Night Manager which was anything but disastrous, landing him multiple nominations and wins at various TV award ceremonies.  The very Bond-esque role prompted people to envision Hiddleston as the iconic British spy and he further fuelled rumours that he could be lined up to take over from Craig in the near future, saying in an interview "I'm very aware of the physicality of the [Bond] job. I would not take it lightly" – we hope the producers were listening.

Hugh Jackman

In an interview with Variety, Australian actor, Hugh Jackman, discussed how he was offered the opportunity to play James Bond in the Casino Royale film following the success of X-Men. He ultimately turned down the role when he learnt he wouldn’t get to influence the script which he felt had become too unrealistic and commercialised, “I was about to do X-Men 2 and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond,” Jackman recalled. “I just felt at the time that the scripts had become so unbelievable and crazy, and I felt like they needed to become grittier and real.”

Given how great he looks in a tux – and his acting capabilities of course, we think it is a real shame that Hugh Jackman didn’t take on the 007 venture and it’s left us wondering if the studio’s resistance to change is holding the franchise back since it has meant losing both Jackman as Bond, and Boyle as a director.

Aiden Turner

Aidan started his career on stage staring in multiple plays, including The Plough and the Stars, Romeo and Juliet, and A Cry from Heaven but soon became a household name after appearing on the big screen in The Hobbit trilogy, before landing the lead in the BBC production of Poldark that landed him an Impact Award for his performance.

Will Turner follow in the footsteps of fellow Irishman Pierce Brosnan? Well if the producers are looking sex appeal and suave, he is the obvious man for the job especially after his role in the Agatha Christie drama, ‘And then there were none’, where he styled a dashing tux that had twitter users collaboratively screaming ‘make this man the next James Bond!’

He’s only 35 which means he’s young enough to star in at least a handful of the films over the next decade and the best part about him is he is open to the role telling the Daily Mail “there’s someone else playing the role at the moment, but when it’s free I’ll have a look at it” making it clear that he doesn’t want to step on his potential predecessor toes.


Henry Cavill

Back in 2005, the actor who came closest to stealing the part from Daniel Craig was Henry Cavill - in fact, he was the preferred choice of Martin Campbell, the film’s director, but the producers felt that he was just a bit too young being only in his 20’s at the time. We’re sure he wasn’t too upset though, as he went on to play Superman and another Ian Fleming creation, Napoleon Solo, in 2015's The Man from UNCLE.

 Once you have been linked to Bond, it seems that rumours are never far away and once again, Henry Cavill has been linked to the part. The 26th instalment is still a few years off, but who knows, we may well be looking at our next Bond?


Dominic West

Who knew Idris Elba’s The Wire co-star and fellow Brit, Dominic West was once a contender for Bond in 2005? He told the Daily Mail that he "wasn't too bothered" about not bagging the role. "Until Daniel Craig got that part, the whole Bond franchise was pretty cheesy – the kind of thing I have no interest in at all," he said claiming he had gone to his audition rocking a "nonchalant look… in an old pair of jeans and a tatty T-shirt," which, despite his unquestionable acting, we are sure didn’t help the producers in envisioning him as the smooth and polished spy.

Rupert Friend

Rupert Friend didn’t just audition for Bond, he actually made it to the screen tests with director Martin Campbell for the Casino Royale movie where he had to film a sequence as Bond on a especially designed set. Daniel Craig went onto bag the part, but casting director Debbie McWilliams revealed that Friend had in fact turned down the part. Little is known as to why he made that decision but he then went onto play spy Peter Quinn in Homeland alongside Damian Lewis and Claire Danes.


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