It’s 2033 and the argument/debate/wrangling/discussions/squabbling over who is going to be the next James Bond still haven’t been resolved. “We have to make sure that we get the right person for this most iconic of roles” has become something of a mantra being heard chanted with the offices of Eon Productions. Personally, I am of the opinion that Daniel Craig had made the part his so definitively that they are having to leave plenty of time so that people don’t get whiplash from doing double takes while saying “they’re playing Bond?”
So I’ve been thinking. That’s makes a welcome change I hear being muttered in the back rows but I decide to carry on. There has been much talk about what form the new Bond should take; skin colour stopped being an issue when Idris Elba and Henry Golding were talked about. I know there are a lot of people who will gasp and splutter all over their copies of the Daily Mail and make comments about the character as written by Ian Fleming despite never having picked up a single one of the books. I think Daniel Kaluuya could have been nicely retconned into M’s office for a briefing.
They Still Haven’t Decided‽
My response to that would be “so what?” There have been plenty of changes that were thought to be insurmountable in the past but are now just laughable. Daniel Craig being blond springs to mind. I tend to think that if you’re watching an action thriller out of the James Bond canon and the colour of the lead’s hair is proving to be a distraction then, well, maybe you’re not that engaged with the whole thing. Also you need to take into account that none of it is set in stone; Ian Fleming was so impressed by Sean Connery’s Bond that he wrote in some Scottish ancestry!
There has also been made mention of a Jane Bond. After all, Lashana Lynch was 007 in No Time To Die and she impressed me no end. Having had a canon character established means that Ms Lynch is out of the running for the part so who could turn Bond from a ladykiller to a man-eater? Top of the list would have to be Emily Blunt; I’d pay good money to see Mary Poppins kicking the crap out of Blofeld! But snapping at her heels would be the likes of Hayley Atwell, Florence Pugh, Emilia Clarke, and Rachel Weisz…that last one may be a wee bit too meta 😉 But let’s assume that the moaning groaners hold sway and we end up with another white, male, Bond.
So, It’s Another Guy Then?
Who would be a good choice of James Bond in ten years time? Obviously, given that I’ve already spent over four hundred and fifty words getting this far, I have an idea. We need someone who is athletic, courageous, caring, self sacrificing, tough, and good looking. They also need to be resourceful, quick thinking, and able to blend in with everyone around them. Let’s face it. You could be the best spy in the world but if you were over two metres tall you would stand out a wee bit. It would be almost as bad as being known on sight by all of your enemies as Bond, James Bond and announcing that to every one you met…ah, bugger.
So who am I thinking of? The person I have in mind is an established action hero. He has been trained in ballet, tap dancing, and acrobatics. That might not sound like the best training for the special forces or the intelligence services in real life but, to portray them on screen, it is ideal. It gives you the confidence to jump about without worrying about breaking a hip. It also gives you enough strength and balance to work with trained stunt men to produce credible fight sequences. The more action scenes the actor can do themselves, the more believable the finished product will be.
The Name’s Man, Spider-Man
I’m thinking of Tom Holland. He has proven his action credentials in six full length MCU features and a few shorts. As though to prove he’s not a one trick pony he has also had successful action outings in Cherry and Uncharted. Uncharted especially shows his off his action hero credentials. If you haven’t seen it Uncharted is an action, adventure, treasure hunt type escapade. Think of films like Romancing The Stone, National Treasure, and The Goonies and you’ll get an idea of what it’s about.
Tom Holland acquits himself admirably whether he is fighting his way back into a transport aeroplane in flight or a pirate galleon…which was also in flight! He is too young to step into Daniel Craig’s shoes straight away but in ten years? In 2033 he’ll be mid to late thirties. That would make him the third youngest debuting Bond; Sean Connery and George Lazenby were both younger and Daniel Craig was only a year or two older so he’s in the right sort of range. Where he does drop out of the demographic is in his height.
To date the shortest James Bond has been Daniel Craig and he rolled in at 1.78m (5’10”) Tom Holland would be more of a secret service issue micro dot at 1.69m (5’6½”). But careful casting and clever camera angles can get over an actor’s lack of altitude. Let’s be honest, one of the hottest action properties at the moment is the magnificent Tom Cruise and he is a mere 1.70m (5’7”). His lack of inches is well known and doesn’t seem to affect his ability to get cast. Let’s face it, when he fought Henry Cavill in Mission: Impossible – Fallout the difference in their heights wasn’t that obvious and Henry Cavill is 1.85m (6’1”).
And Who Is Going To Destroy The World?
So we have the next (the way things are going!) James Bond identified. What we also need is a James Bond villain. So who can be slotted in between the black leather, high back swivel chair and the white Persian cat? And, as you’ve probably already twigged, I have an idea for that role too. Very often what makes or breaks a Bond film is the quality of the villain. Javier Bardem, Christophe Waltz, Mads Mikkelsen, and Rami Malek were all great villains. Perhaps they were the reason why Daniel Craig was, in my humble, the best Bond.
So who can it be? It has to be someone who can exude menace. They have to be believable as an evil genius. They have to convince the viewer that they would happily end a substantial chunk of humanity merely to prove a point or to get some power. And to get all those points across we need to get an accomplished and capable actor. The person I’m thinking of has proven himself across the full panoply of thespian outlets; theatrical stage and screens both large and small. The person I’m thinking of is Harry Melling.
Yes, the chunky bully from the Harry Potter franchise. Like a lot of the school age cast of those films, Harry Melling made his debut in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. For those who’ve been living under a rock since we stopped having to worry about the Y2K problem, Harry Melling played Dudley Dursley who was Harry’s spoilt bully of a cousin. Like the rest of the young cast he has managed to maintain a heightened level of public awareness. Unlike some who are hanging on by their fingernails by doing podcasts and suchlike, Harry Melling has been in some very high level, prestigious roles.
He’s done Shakespeare on both stage and screen; he’s been in three different stage productions of King Lear and was in the Apple’s wonderful The Tragedy Of Macbeth alongside Denzel Washington. Other literary adaptations he’s appeared in have included His Dark Materials, War Of The Worlds, and Just William. He was quite astonishing playing just a head and torso in Netflix’s The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs. And, sticking with Netflix, we have what could have been his showreel for the Bond baddy – The Old Guard.
This Murderous Shaft That’s Shot
Another Netflix series that really got a lot of attention was The Queen’s Gambit. A seven part mini-series about chess. That should really not have taken off like it did but, well, it was stupidly popular. I mean, I know the rules of chess, which way the horsey bit goes and stuff like that, but they were actually recreating classic games. Maybe it was the gender role reversal by having a woman as the chess prodigy, maybe it was Anya Taylor-Joy whose doll like face always looks like she’s stepped out of an anime feature. Or it could have been Harry Melling’s take on Harry Beltik who is trapped in her thrall.
So that is my prediction for a future James Bond and Bond villain. Tom Holland as 007 and Harry Melling as some sort of evil overlord; possibly another incarnation of Ernst Stavros Blofeld, possibly even a completely new character. I’d be fascinated to hear what everyone else thinks but I think my choices are, pretty much, unbeatable. Absolutely no one else could carry off those roles.
Oh…apart from Jamie Bell! He could be either Bond or Baddy too. Hmmm…
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!