In Depth

Who will replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond?

Actor’s final outing as 007 delayed by months due to coronavirus

Next James Bond: Hiddleston plays down rumours

8 June

Bookmakers may have been rather hasty by suspending betting on Tom Hiddleston to be the next James Bond. That's according to the man himself, who has finally addressed the increasing speculation that he is to replace Daniel Craig as the illustrious spy.

"I don't think that announcement is coming," Hiddleston told an excitable crowd at the Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia, where he was promoting his role as Loki in The Avengers film franchise.

"I am very gratified to hear the enthusiasm. Your guess is as good as mine, to be honest," The Night Manager star added.

The news will come as something of a surprise to Bond fans, particularly considering how far Hiddleston's stock has risen in recent months.

But the actor, "while expressing enthusiasm about the prospect, has repeatedly shot down rumours that he has signed on", says The Guardian.

In May, Hiddleston told the Graham Norton Show: "The thing is, the position isn't vacant, as far as I am aware. No one has talked to me about it."

His comments have led to attention shifting back to former favourite Aidan Turner. In fact, Metro have claimed the Poldark star will be announced as the new 007 "probably within two weeks".

But to confuse things even further, Night Manager director Susanne Bier is reportedly the frontrunner to be at the helm for the next Bond.

Her successful BBC show, in which Hiddleston played an MI5 operative who wears a tux and orders martinis, was warmly received by critics and viewers alike.

Bier, who would be the film franchise's first female director, has previously said of Hiddleston: "There's a certain incredibly enigmatic quality to his eyes. You aren't sure you can trust him, but you are sure there is a pain there that he doesn't show."

Next James Bond will be a surprise, says Mendes

31 May

Sam Mendes, the British film-maker behind Skyfall and Spectre, has done his best to quash rumours that the race to be the next 007 is done and dusted.

Earlier this month most bookmakers suspended betting on the candidates, following a series of large bets on Night Manager star Tom Hiddleston.

But Mendes believes that fans may well be surprised when the new Bond is announced.

"It's not a democracy," he told an audience at the Hay Festival, according to the Daily Telegraph. "It's not The X Factor, it's not the EU referendum, it's not a public vote. Barbara Broccoli chooses who's going to be the next Bond: end of story. I can guarantee whatever happens with it, it will not be what you expect. That's what she's been brilliant at and that's how it'll survive."

Speaking about Daniel Craig's relative anonymity before his casting, Mendes added: "Public support for Daniel was zero. It was Barbara saying, 'That man over there is going to change the whole thing, I'm going to cast him.'"

Mendes, who has been widely credited with revitalising the franchise following his stint at the helm of the past two blockbusters, also confirmed that Spectre was officially his last James Bond film. "It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it, but I think it's time for somebody else," he said.

It was reported last week that Craig has turned down £68m to star in a further two films. "Daniel is done – pure and simple – he told top brass at MGM after Spectre. They threw huge amounts of money at him, but it just wasn't what he wanted," one "LA film source" told the Daily Mail

Hiddleston remains in pole position for the new role, with Ladbrokes and Betfair, the only companies still offering odds, making him favourite at 2/5. In a recent interview with Graham Norton, Hiddleston appeared flustered when trying to quell speculation, but did admit there were similarities between his role in the Night Manager and James Bond.

Flurry of wagers placed on Tom Hiddleston

16 May

Bookmakers have suspended bets on the next James Bond after a flurry of wagers on Tom Hiddleston sent his odds plummeting to 1-2.

The actor, who recently starred in the BBC adaptation of John Le Carré's spy thriller The Night Manager, has described himself as a "huge fan" of the 007 film franchise.

"Coral suspended betting after a particularly large bet was placed, sending his odds plummeting to 1-2," reports the Daily Telegraph.

A spokeswoman for the bookmakers told the newspaper: "There is no smoke without fire, and following the big gamble on Tom Hiddleston in the last 24 hours, we've had no choice but to pull the plug on the market."

Hiddleston has played down speculation, recently telling the Graham Norton Show: "The position isn't vacant as far as I'm aware. No one has talked to me about it.

"I think the rumours have come about because in The Night Manager I play a spy and people have made the link."

But a week later he was reportedly spotted meeting with Bond director Sam Mendes and producer Barbara Broccoli.

Ladbrokes and Paddy Power are still offering bets on the next 007, with Hiddleston firmly in the lead. Poldark's Aidan Turner, Mad Max star Tom Hardy, Luther actor Idris Elba and Homeland's Damian Lewis are also in the top five.

After a decade as Bond, Daniel Craig appears to be less than enthusiastic about returning to the role, telling Time Out he would rather "slash my wrists" than play 007 again straight after filming Spectre last year.

Next James Bond: 'Easy on the eye' Tom Hiddleston leads the pack

27 April

Tom Hiddleston remains the bookmaker's favourite to become the next James Bond if Daniel Craig decides to hang up his tuxedo.

The actor's schedule looks decidedly freer after he ruled out a second series of his hit BBC drama The Night Manager, telling fans: "I know the rumours about it extending, but none of that is real."

One person who has been impressed by his stint in the series was co-star Olivia Colman, who told This Morning she was rooting for Hiddleston to become the next 007.

"He is very easy on the eye. He'd be a great Bond," she said.

For his part, Hiddleston has done nothing to quash the rumours, even showing off his superspy animal-taming abilities on James Corden's US chat show, much to the delight of the internet. 

While there has been no official word from the current 007, news he had signed up for a US television series prompted the press to declare Craig's "James Bond future was in doubt".

Asked last year if he could see himself tackling the role one more time, the actor told Esquire magazine: "At this moment, no. I have a life and I've got to get on with it a bit. But we'll see."

So who might take over? Here are the top six contenders:

1. Tom Hiddleston, 35

No longer a left-field choice, Hiddleston has come into favour after issuing his "come and get me" plea in The Sunday Times. Following his Bondesque portrayal of a spy with a taste for violence in The Night Manager, he talked up his ambitions in relation to the role, telling the newspaper: "I'm very aware of the physicality of the [Bond] job. I would not take it lightly." He's even played a caricature of the smooth spy in a series of Jaguar adverts.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"92008","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

2.Tom Hardy, 38

London-born Hardy is second in the list and with two of 2015's biggest films under his belt - Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant - his star has never shone brighter. Though his Mad Max character was a "grunting road warrior", the actor can do suave when called upon, says Vanity Fair, with roles in This Means War and Inception proving his range. His "you mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling" line in Inception was "classic Bond", says the magazine.

3. Idris Elba, 43

Long been seen as a Bond-in-waiting, Elba has recently been making all the right noises that his time might be now. The British star, who made his name with a thick Boston accent as Stringer Bell in The Wire, would be the first black actor to play the role on film. However, odds lengthened when Anthony Horowitz, who writes Bond novels for Ian Fleming's estate, said Elba was "too street" for the part, although the author has since apologised and says he can see other black actors in the role.

4. Aidan Turner, 32

Turner could be the surprise choice to follow in the footsteps of fellow Irishman Pierce Brosnan. He has numerous positives, says The Guardian, including being "taller than Craig" and offering "even more shirt-off moments per episode than the current 007 in his starring role in Poldark". If the producers want sexy and suave, they could do little wrong in choosing him – and he's young enough to play Bond in a half-dozen or more films over the next decade and a half, the paper adds.

5. Damian Lewis, 45

At a time when prospective Bonds are staking their claim, the Eton-educated star of Homeland has seen his odds lengthen. Last year's frontrunner saw a sudden flurry of bets placed on him "for no apparent reason", causing bookies to slash his odds in case the punters knew something they didn't, says the Daily Telegraph. Bond producer Barbara Broccoli worked with Lewis on The Silent Storm and is said to be a fan. There's one problem with the actor though, according to New York Post critic Reed Tucker: "We will never accept a ginger James Bond."

6: Henry Cavill, 32

Cavill is still in the running despite signing on to play Superman in several Justice League films for Warner Bros over the next five years. His performances as the Man of Steel have gained rave reviews and his brooding mystique has shown he's as happy alongside superhero A-listers in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as he is winning female affection in The Man from UNCLE.  

The best of the rest

Others linked for the role include Irishman Michael Fassbender, Star Wars actor John Boyega, British stalwart Orlando Bloom, Spooks star David Oyelowo and actor and model Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

Spectre: stars rub shoulders with royals at world premiere

27 October

The world premiere of the new James Bond film was a star-studded affair, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry joining celebrities on the red carpet in London.

"It's just fantastic to see everybody out tonight," said Daniel Craig as he arrived at the premiere." I love playing Bond," he told the BBC. "It's changed my life and I've loved every second of it." 

But he remained tight-lipped about whether he would retain his role as agent 007. Producer Barbara Broccoli said: "I'm pretty determined to keep him!"

Craig was joined on the red carpet by fellow cast members Naomie Harris, who plays Eve Moneypenny, new villain Christoph Waltz and "Bond girls" Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci.

This is the fourth Bond film starring Craig and the second instalment directed by Sam Mendes, with a scriptwriting team made up of John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and the award-winning British playwright Jez Butterworth.   

A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on the trail of a sinister organisation known as Spectre. While the new M battles political forces to keep the MI6 in action, Bond travels the globe in an attempt to discover the truth behind his true enemy.

What do the critics make of it?

The film has seduced most critics with its slick mix of spectacular action and ghosts of 007s past, but some feel it can't top Skyfall for emotional depth and drama. 

In The Times, Kate Muir calls Spectre "achingly cool, and as sleek and powerful as the silver Aston Martin DB10 that races through the movie". Muir says director Mendes and Craig are now so comfortable with the late-007 action genre that a relaxed wit percolates almost every scene and their recipe seems "bulletproof".

It's "a swaggering show of confidence", says Robbie Collin in the Daily Telegraph. The film starts in Mexico City with "a hold-your-breath tracking shot" that follows Bond through a surging street parade, into a hotel, up three floors, into a suite, out of the window, and much further, without a single observable cut – "an instant all-time greatest moment in the franchise".

Spectre blends flinty modernity and some shiveringly sadistic moments with sly references to the ghosts of Bond's past, says Collin. And it pulls it off in "the grand old Fleming style".

Indeed, it's a "terrifically exciting, spectacular, almost operatically delirious 007 adventure", says Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. Spectre is "pure action mayhem with a real sense of style". And not only does this Bond endorse intelligence work as "old-fashioned derring-do", says Bradshaw, it also takes a pro-Snowden line against "the creepy voyeur surveillance that undermines the rights of a free individual".

But a few critics had reservations about the new Bond film.

In pure action-adventure terms, "Spectre delivers the goods", says Stephen Dalton in the Hollywood Reporter. But plot-wise, "it feels like the filmmakers have been bluffing a great poker hand for two hours before throwing down a pair of threes". There is "enough dazzle and derring-do to keep the Bond brand afloat", he adds, but not enough to make it a game-changer like Skyfall.

Wendy Ide on The Wrap agrees, saying Spectre is a "frustratingly unsatisfying experience". Whereas Skyfall explored the emotional back story of the world's most famous secret agent and served up unexpected pathos along with the action, says Ide, "Spectre is all about the set pieces", where character development and dialogue come a distant second place.

Spectre opens in the UK on Monday 26 October.

Spectre: is Max Denbigh actually Blofeld?

16 October

Spectre will finally premiere in the UK in just over a week and – with the rumour mill in overdrive – some fans are wondering if there will be a "villain switcheroo".

The 24th James Bond film stars Christopher Waltz as the villainous Franz Oberhauser opposite Daniel Craig's 007. However, it has long been rumoured that Oberhauser will actually turn out to be one of the most famous Bond baddies of all time: Blofeld.

In previous films, Blofeld headed the global criminal organisation Spectre (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), although the character has not been seen on the big screen since 1983's Never Say Never Again. Waltz has explicitly denied that his character will turn out to be Blofeld, and now the mystery surrounding another character – Max Denbigh played by Andrew Scott – has prompted rumours that Waltz might be a decoy.

Details about Denbigh, the head of the "Centre for National Security", are thin. Irish actor Scott, who is best known for playing Sherlock Holmes's arch-nemesis Moriarty, has said only that his Spectre character is "a member of the intelligence world". According to a short synopsis of the plot, he "questions Bond's actions and challenges the relevance of MI6".

One trailer also shows him staring menacingly at the screen and seemingly fighting the new M (Ralph Fiennes).

Yes, the old "villain switcheroo" is still unexpected enough to work, says WhatCulture. "While everyone is happily floating along on the assumption that Oberhauser is Blofeld, despite Christoph Waltz's adamant defiance, the film might be about to throw the curve-ball that Scott's Denbigh is actually the real big bad."

There is also a theory that it is Scott saying a line in the trailer that was initially assumed to be Waltz: "you came across me so many times, yet you never saw me". If it is Scott, says WhatCulture, it would be "pretty damning evidence that he is in fact the real puppeteer behind Spectre".

  • Spectre is due for release on 26 October 2015.

Spectre: is Sam Smith's James Bond song 'epic' or 'whiny'?

Sam Smith's James Bond theme song for the upcoming film Spectre has left fans and critics divided, with some saying it is too emotional for 007.

Writing's On the Wall, written by Smith and Jimmy Nape, was released on iTunes and Spotify today, marking the first Bond theme song to be recorded by a British male solo artist for 40 years.

Smith described it as one of the highlights of his career, but fans weren't so sure.

One tweeter described it as "bland and whiny", while others said it was "the worst Bond theme ever". Many people pointed out its similarities to parts of Michael Jackson's Earth Song.

The Guardian's Alexis Petridis says it is nowhere near as striking as Adele's Skyfall. "That may be because it's essentially offering more of the same, while Skyfall felt like a break with the recent past, or it may be because it just isn't as good a song," he says. You keep expecting it to arrive at a "showstopping chorus", but that never comes, says Petridis.

"Perhaps there's something telling about Smith's boast that it took him 20 minutes to write: the result feels less like a Bond theme song than a latter-day pop ballad – the kind of thing that X Factor contestants have a crack at – with big strings and 007 references bolted on."

Digital Spy thinks it's too emotional for 007. "Unless we're about to meet a Bond crying over a girl he met on Tinder in Spectre, the heart of Writing's On The Wall is too tender for the newly-brutal spy," it says.

But other critics have been much more forthcoming with praise.

The Wall Street Journal says it has "all the makings of a classic Bond theme song" with "sweeping orchestration harkening back to signature 007 compositions like Goldfinger, and Smith's pristine vocals".

Neil McCormick at the Daily Telegraph says the "intimate and epic" track may be the greatest vocal of Smith's short career.

"After 53 years and 23 official themes, it is not easy to create a Bond song without venturing into musical pastiche," says McCormick, "but you would have to say Smith has pulled it off with aplomb."

Spectre: next James Bond will be a white man, says Brosnan

24 September 2015

James Bond star Pierce Brosnan has seemingly ruled out Idris Elba as the next star of the hit franchise.

With Spectre expected to be the final appearance from Daniel Craig in the starring role, there were rumours that the new Bond might be non-white, or even female.

Elba, best known for playing Nelson Mandela, Luther and Stringer Bell in The Wire, has been a popular suggestion. But his name has also been the focus of controversy, after Anthony Horowitz, who writes Bond novels for Ian Fleming's estate, contentiously declared Elba "too rough" for the part.

Brosnan, who played Bond between 1994 and 2005 in chapters such as The World Is Not Enough, told the Press Association: "Anything is possible for sure, but I think he'll be male and he'll be white."

He added: "There's wonderful black actors out there who could be James Bond, and there's no reason why you cannot have a black James Bond.

"But a female James Bond, no, I think it has to be male. James Bond is a guy, he's all male. His name is James, his name is James Bond."

This is not the first time that Brosnan has weighed in on the debate over who will succeed Craig. Last month, he told Details magazine there could be a gay James Bond, but that the current director would not allow it.

In March, another former Bond, Sir Roger Moore, was accused of racism. Asked by Paris Match about Elba succeeding Craig, he said the role must be "English-English". As a storm erupted, Sir Roger said the quotes were "lost in translation".

Spectre: Daniel Craig's 007 is booziest Bond ever

22 September

Daniel Craig is the booziest James Bond ever, drinking an average of 20 units per film, according to a new study.

The spy has been played by six actors spanning more than five decades but only Pierce Brosnan, Craig's immediate predecessor, comes anywhere close to matching the current 007's penchant for alcohol.

The analysis, brought out ahead of the new film Spectre, shows Timothy Dalton was the most austere spy, only drinking between four and five units per film.

The researchers believe that much of this could be down to the increasing muscle of the franchise's sponsors. Luxury Vodka brand Belvedere will be sponsoring the upcoming movie.

Rob Brown, from the Grocer Magazine, which compiled the research, explains: "A partnership with 007 can pay big for brands, as booze brands as diverse as Bollinger, Jim Beam, Red Stripe and Heineken will attest. Belvedere's decision to jump into bed with Bond is a landmark moment for the brand."

Despite playing the booziest Bond on camera, Daniel Craig has previously lamented his inability to drink in public since taking on the role.

"You talk to people in the movie business who have been doing this 40 years and they all say the difference is that, back in the day, you could go and have a drink in the bar, get drunk, fall over, have a good time, relax, whatever, and no one would know about it," he told lifestyle magazine Vanity Fair in 2012.

The actor complained: "But now everyone's got a camera. So you can't live a normal life anymore. Because it will become public knowledge that you've whatever – gotten drunk in a bar or skinny-dipped on a beach or something."

In other Bond news, the new film's theme song is to be released on 25 September and singer Sam Smith has released a quick snippet of the new track on his twitter account.

Unfortunately for the 23-year-old singer early reviews haven't all been positive.

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