6. DAMIAN LEWIS
Lewis has the acting ability but hasn’t really done any straightforward action films since, well, unless you count The Sweeney. And we don’t. At all. At 44, Lewis is on the older side for the character. Keep in mind, however, that Craig was 38 when he signed on for Casino Royale so it’s not outside the realms of possibility here.
5. IDRIS ELBA
Idris Elba’s been linked with the role for quite a long time. At this stage, if he doesn’t get it, he never will. Just one year younger than Elba, committing to Bond is usually a five, possibly six year deal meaning that he’ll be almost 50 by the time he’d be potentially done with the role. It’s a big ask of anyone.
4. MAX IRONS
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the much younger actors. Max Irons is a strong candidate for the role. He’s got that English toff accent down to a tee, he’s athletic and he’s not hugely well-known. More often than not, Bond has always been a relative unknown. Daniel Craig’s best known film before Casino Royale was Layer Cake. Timothy Dalton had done a ton of BBC costume dramas whilst Sean Connery was in Darby O’Gill. Not only that, his dad, Jeremy Irons, would have made a brilliant mid-’80s villain against Timothy Dalton.
3. JOEL EDGERTON
If you listened to The Manual, you’ll know that we came up with this brilliant bit of casting a couple of months ago. Joel Edgerton would be fantastic in the role. He’s got that thin veil of charisma that belies something almost feral and violent – exactly what Bond was in the novels. He’s done plenty of action down through the years – Exodus, Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty – and he’s just recognisable enough to the average cinemagoer to work. In a way, he’s almost too good for the role. He’s better than Bond.
2. AIDAN TURNER
Following in the grand tradition laid down by Pierce Brosnan, Aidan Turner would make a fine Irish Bond. In fact, Turner looks somewhat similar to Sean Connery in the ’60s Bond and he’s more than capable of throwing himself into big action setpieces. Poldark, for example, has been a huge hit with audiences thanks to him being shirtless for 70% of it so that’s the whole sexuality thing sorted as well.
1. JAMES McAVOY
You thought we were going to say Michael Fassbender, right? Nope, James McAvoy’s a better shout. For one, James McAvoy is Scottish. He’s done huge action franchises (X-Men), he’s done smaller thrillers (The Last King Of Scotland) and he’s been seen on-screen in a tuxedo (Atonement). The only thing standing against him is that he’s well-known, something previous actors haven’t necessarily been. Granted, that’s no reason he wouldn’t make a perfect Bond – but would he go for it? Probably.