Being James Bond

If I can just put my James Bond fan hat on, I just came across this treat on Youtube. It’s a 45 minute retrospective of Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007, going through his five films. As it explains, the impact Craig has had on the franchise has been massive. He brought so much humanity and pathos to the character, while still being the cold, violent spy Ian Fleming created. Like many fans, I think Craig is my favourite actor to play the role. The Ironic thing is, when he was first cast in the role, he was lampooned in the press for being blonde, and everyone expected him to be a failure. To think that Craig then went on to be such a fantastic success is what makes this story so great.

The question now is, where does the franchise go from here? As the program details, over the past five films and fifteen years, Craig’s Bond has become a cultural icon: by and large, his films have been huge critical hits, and who can forget that this was the 007 who escorted the queen to the olympics – a cultural moment which must surely rank as one of the greatest in history. How can that possibly be followed? How can any actor follow Craig? Whoever the producer choose, I would hate to be in their shoes.

But then, they said that after Brosnan. I’m now very interested indeed in how Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson deal with this issue. Whoever they cast, it’s sure to come under a lot of scrutiny; but my hunch is, they’ll take a totally new tack. Craig played Bond so straight, so brutally, that the only way forward is to completely change the tone. As others are saying too, they’ll cast a lighter, more comic Bond – anything else will risk comparisons with hiss predecessor. Of course, the danger with that is, go too far down that route and it risks not being James Bond any more; stray too far and their choice will certainly be panned. Thus, largely thanks to the success of Daniel Craig, Bond’s producers are in quite a predicament: I can’t wait to see how they get out of it.

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