James Bond fans collectively held their breath (and noses) at the news that One Direction singer, Harry Styles, 23, is possibly a contender for the role of the British super spy. Longtime Christopher Nolan film editor, Lee Smith, told British press that “Harry could do it. If they wanted a younger Bond then why not? He has got it.”
Harry Styles fans point to his small role in Nolan’s Dunkirk as proof of his acting chops. How many lines did he have in that film? Does a bit part in Dunkirk qualify Styles to carry a movie? Carry a franchise? And if we’re looking at Dunkirk, why not consider its talented lead, Fionn Whitehead?
Harry Styles fans point to his small role in Nolan’s Dunkirk as proof of his acting chops.
If the Bond producers are looking for a younger British actor, they have many other choices. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (27) has already done a number of action films (Kick Ass, X-Men). Nicholas Hoult (28) has been practically auditioning for Bond, waving his British patriotism around with his Jaguar commercials. If Henry Cavill (34) wanted a post-SUPERMAN franchise, he’s already showed off his super spy moves in the dud, The Man from Uncle. Tom Hiddleston’s (36) name floated around thanks to his role in The Night Manager. Poor Charlie Hunnam (37) is still looking for a movie hit. And the Internet is abuzz at the possibility of a Tom Hardy (40) Bond.
Christian Bale famously turned down James Bond quipping that he had already played a serial killer in American Psycho.
Of course, not all British actors are interested in being tied down to a franchise. There’s a fear of being typecast as the suave, Brit super spy. Christian Bale famously turned down the role quipping that he had already played a serial killer in American Psycho so he went on star to Nolan’s Batman series where apparently no one was killed.
The James Bond franchise is quintessentially British; past Bonds have been Scottish (Sean Connery), Welsh (Timothy Dalton) and Irish actors (Pierce Brosnan). But like other superhero franchises, many think that in the post-Daniel Craig world, it’s time for a major modernization of the beloved series that began with Connery’s star-making turn in the 1962 Doctor No.
Speaking of doctors, like the recent casting of Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who, long time Bond front runner, Idris Elba recently said in an interview, “Are we interested in having a Bond character other than being a male? It could be a woman—could be a black woman, could be a white woman. Do something different with it. Why not?”
Gillian Anderson (X-FILES) happily threw her hat in the ring when her fans mocked up a Jane Bond poster. But with Anderson also comes the possibility that the next James Bond could be American, Canadian or Australian (there’s an island of Hemsworth’s waiting!) Does the next James/Jane Bond have to be British? Just a few years ago, the idea of a Brit playing Batman or Superman would have been heresy but now that barrier has been breached, the Bond casting speculation continues.
Justin Bieber, anyone?
About the contributing writer: Harrison Cheung is the award-winning author of Christian Bale: The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman biography.