I don’t think it’s any hyperbole to say that I’m the resident ultra-James Bond guy around these parts. My lifelong obsession with the superspy movie franchise is very well known. So, of course, over the last week or two, I’ve had a few people ask me about why I didn’t report the news that Tom Hardy has been cast as the new James Bond to take over from Daniel Craig after he finishes his tenure with the upcoming No Time to Die. And the reason why I didn’t report it is simple:
It’s (probably) not true.
We may be getting Craig’s final film as 007 later this year, but for a while it looked like he would bow out early after the so-so release of Spectre. And wouldn’t you know it, in the face of Craig’s uncertainty, Tom Hardy had been rumoured to take over as Bond back then as well. In fact, going back a fair number of years, there’s almost always been somebody claiming that the English actor would be the next person to strap on that iconic Walther PPK, and every single time it’s turned out to be fanboy wishes at best, outright nonsense at worst.
This time around, the so-called scoop came from a Star Trek blog, of all places, which claimed with quite astonishing certainty that Hardy had been given the job. According to this report, an official announcement was supposed to have been made already by Universal Pictures, but then the COVID-19 pandemic delayed No Time to Die to November, prompting plans to be put off to 2021.
After this “scoop” hit the internet, not a single one of the major industry trades and publications could verify its claim. But that didn’t stop the British tabloids from picking it up and running with it. And that included the Daily Mail, an otherwise terrible rag which has admittedly actually landed some solid intel about the Bond films in the past. And that was apparently enough for the internet to decide that totally 100% for real without a shadow of a doubt Tom Hardy was the next James Bond definitely for sure!!!
But once you just look past Hardy’s smoothly charming Bond-like ways, you’ll notice a few rather glaring problems. The first is his age. Hardy is currently 43 years old, just two years younger than Roger Moore – the oldest actor to play the role – was when he was cast as Bond. Moore’s creaking age as he was matched up with younger female co-stars became a source of much derision and I’m sure the studio doesn’t want to repeat that.
I’m pretty sure they would also want to have an actor on board for at least three or four films. The earliest days of the franchise saw movies released every two years, but in the modern age its been closer to a four-year gap between releases. If that were to continue and Hardy was cast, it would put him close to 60 by the time he completed his run. Nobody wants to see a sexagenerian Bond.
There’s also the problem that Hardy is already pretty famous and well-paid. Bond actors tend to be to those who have proven their mettle, but aren’t quite household names demanding big paychecks yet. James Bond becomes the role in their careers. That simply wouldn’t be the case for Hardy who already has a huge list of iconic roles and who remains a very in-demand actor.
Ironically, this very same last disqualifier also applies to another actor who is very eager for the role and could actually do a damn good job of it: Henry Cavill. While he’s already Superman for Warner Bros, and both Geralt of Rivia and, more recently, Sherlock Holmes for Netflix, Cavill seemingly wants to add James Bond to his list of characters. Speaking to GQ, the actor was asked about whether he would be interested in the gig and answered very affirmatively.
If [Bond producer Barbara Broccoli] and [co-producer Michael G. Wilson] were interested in that, I would absolutely jump at the opportunity. At this stage, it’s all up in the air. We’ll see what happens. But yes, I would love to play Bond, it would be very, very exciting.
Of course, playing Bond is not a new thing for Cavill. Back in 2005, when he was just 22-years old, the British actor also auditioned to star in Casino Royale, just like Craig. In the end, it came down to a choice between the two men with Cavill being director Martin Campbell’s personal pick. However, the filmmaker was overruled by the producers who wanted somebody just a tad more seasoned and thus went with Craig, who was 37 at the time. Now, at that exact same age, this is seemingly the perfect time for Cavill to finally achieve this dream… except he’s probably just too famous now. Not to mention too much of a beefcake. Even the muscled Craig looks puny next to Cavill’s superhero physique.
Of course, Cavill has already shown that he could still make it work when he played silky smooth spy Napoleon Solo in Guy Ritchie’s big screen adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. On top of that, he’s got another spy franchise under his belt with his badass role in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. So yes, he probably won’t be the next James Bond either.
I have a feeling that after No Time to Die, the producers may give the Bond franchise a little bit of a break for a few years. Or at least give Bond himself a break. Rumours abound that the upcoming film is setting up a spinoff perhaps centered on Lashana Lynch’s character, a different 00-agent. That may be a nice way of keeping the franchise alive in the public consciousness while an exhaustive search is conducted for the next James Bond. Preferably somebody not too famous or too well known. I wonder what Richard Madden’s calendar for the next few years is looking like?
Last Updated: September 29, 2020