The Next 007

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SPECTRE is only a few months away. The anticipation is growing with intriguing trailers and the rumours over the coveted job of the singer of the iconic title music in full flow. Another question that has been heavily discussed is that of who will continue to play 007 after Daniel Craig has left the franchise. Originally, Craig was going to exit after Skyfall, but is reuniting with director Sam Mendes for SPECTRE which is frequently being touted as his last outing in the role. He will leave the franchise with not only his dignity intact after a barrage of criticism before Casino Royale but with the honour of reigniting the series and making it something new and exciting.

Speculation about the new Bond is already well underway with pretty much every actor working in the film industry being suggested as a possible replacement. Look at the betting odds and you’ll find such names as Peter Dinklage, Vinnie Jones and even John Travolta further down the odds list but here are some of the people more likely to fill Bond’s shoes…

The Bookies Favourite – Damien Lewis

Damian Lewis as Nicholas "Nick" Brody in Homeland (Season 2, Episode 12). - Photo:  Kent Smith/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  Homeland_212_1559
Damian Lewis as Nicholas “Nick” Brody in Homeland (Season 2, Episode 12). – Photo: Kent Smith/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: Homeland_212_1559

Originally touted as a dark horse, in recent months Damien Lewis emerged as the bookie’s favourite for the next reincarnation of James Bond. You can see what appeals about him; in Homeland and Wolf Hall he has exhibited his wide acting range. He has a strong voice and domineering presence whilst being charming and likeable. But with the swathes of criticism aimed at Daniel Craig of him being blond how will everyone react if a redhead takes over the role?

The Fan’s Favourite – Idris Elba

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Idris Elba was once almost nailed on to get the role of James Bond before Craig departed. The current 007 has stated how great he would be in the role. Elba is hugely popular with film critics and audiences alike and everyone thought the time had come to finally get out of the dark ages and present Bond as black.

Sir Roger Moore, however, thought otherwise and infamously vocalised the small minority that still doesn’t want a black actor stating that Bond should be “English-English”. With this slip of bigotry not only did Moore damage his own reputation somewhat but he seems to forget that his predecessor in the role was Scottish and his replacement was a Welshman.

If we can suspend belief and allow the fact that Bond has been played by a variety of people of varying nationalities why can’t Idris Elba play him. Elba admitted recently that “If there was any chance of me getting Bond it’s gone” but with his cool personality and touch of class I’m hoping this isn’t the case.

The Traditional Choice – Henry Cavill

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If you were a casting director it is clear that Henry Cavill is the no brainer choice for the part. He’s suave, sophisticated, British (from the proud island nation of Jersey) and according to my wife “No man should ever be that good looking.” He’s got everything and almost got the job back in 2005 for Casino Royale. There was a time that he could have easily given up after not only being second choice for Bond, but also for Batman and The Man of Steel for Superman Returns in 2006. His persistence paid off and he eventually became Superman a few years later whilst cementing himself as a real Hollywood A-Lister. His upcoming role as Napoleon Solo in The Man From U.N.C.L.E will no doubt showcase his abilities acting in a spy role and you’d think he’d be the best choice.

The No Brainer – Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy attends "The Drop" premiere on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Tom Hardy’s name keeps cropping up as one of the favourites for the role and it’s clear why. He has been excellent in every role he’s played and would be remarkably cool as Bond. It would also maintain a nice consistency that Craig’s replacement would also come from the excellent Layer Cake. He’d bring a real energy and intensity to the role and has stated he’d love to play the role, especially if Christopher Nolan, who is eager to direct a Bond film is on board which would be a dream match. Audiences would be massively on board with Hardy and he’d look right at home in that tuxedo.

The Juggernaut – Michael Fassbender

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Why wouldn’t people consider one of the best actors of the last ten years? Michael Fassbinder’s eclectic body of work has demonstrated his huge acting abilities. His role as Lt. Archie Hicox in Inglorious Basterds is a great of example of the Irishman looking suave and doling out the charm. He would be a natural choice and would lend a real authority to the character.The question is would he want to dedicate himself to another franchise after playing Magneto in X-Men?

The Oscar Winner – Eddie Redmayne

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a British actor who wins a Best Actor Oscar will be considered for James Bond. The casting directors could do worse than Eddie Redmayne as well. Although many would deem him perhaps too ‘soft’ for the role the charm and style is certainly there. He’s probably got a lot on his plate with upcoming roles in The Danish Girl and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but who knows?

The Outsider – Kit Harington

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With the uncertainty of how long again before we see Jon Snow, if ever again, on Game of Thrones we can assume that Kit Harington is going to want to embrace a variety of roles in the near future. So, why not go for the most coveted role in the film industry and audition for James Bond? He has already dipped his toe in the espionage genre with Spooks: The Greater Good and shown his flair for action in Pompeii. He’s well liked and has the right hair colour for all the die-hard Bond fans so why not? He’s certainly one to consider.

These are just a few of the candidates, just like Damien Lewis, someone else could just one day became the favourite and steal the role from under everyone’s nose. Other actors suggested for the role include Dan Stevens, Richard Armitage, Jamie Dornan, Dominic Cooper and Tom Hiddlestone. Until the decision is reached though, at least we’ve got SPECTRE to look forward to in October!

This blog post is dedicated to my wife Hannah. Without whom I would have never watched all the Bond films 🙂

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Fire, Theft and Acts of Zod

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(Warning: Man of Steel Spoilers)

Last week, like so many, I indulged myself in Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel. Despite being a relative novice when it comes to all things Kal-El, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it has a lot to do before comparison with The Dark Knight trilogy, apart from the Nolan/Goyer/DC connections, there is still plenty to like. Henry Cavill really bought a great subtlety to both his Kryptonian and Earthling characters, Russell Crowe was on top form as Jor-El, Michael Shannon’s Zod had genuine antagonistic motivations and the story was very watchable and easy to become involved in.

However, one thing I have problems, in many superhero and sci-fi films lately, is the sheer amount of needless destruction and civilian deaths. Films like The Avengers, Transformers and Star Trek into Darkness have shown that it’s ok if thousands, if not millions of people are killed in an intergalactic crossfire. It’s like they have been competing for how many skyscrapers they can digitally bring down. Nobody cares about a couple of towering office blocks that may contain a huge number of innocent women and children anymore. As long as we complete our mission we can mourn for the fallen people later after the shawarma.

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Man of Steel is hugely guilty of a biblical scale of wanton destruction. The last act alone must accumulate a body count in the thousands as General Zod and his Kryptonian brethren reek havoc on Metropolis. Worse than that, in trying to stop him, Superman inflicts just as much damage on his city. Skyscrapers turn to rubble, local amenities in tatters and local leisure facilities are no more. At least a claim could be made and the insurance companies could pay out? Well, I’d wager their offices are nothing but dust.

Now, I know the destruction of one city is insignificant considering the entire of Krypton was destroyed. But, in the final scene where Zod is threatening a family of four, Superman can’t do enough to help them, but the faceless thousands in the tower blocks will have to live with their fate.

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Maybe it’s indicative of a post 9/11 America that all skyscrapers will fall without a second thought. I’m sure that the sheer amount of these Superhero films found success, in part, because America is in a period of their history where terrorism is a constant threat and the need for a hero is greater than ever. Man of Steel also shows its own armed forces joining Superman to fight which gives an extra patriotic aspect.

Some will argue that the destruction is an attempt to show the threat of the villain and what they are capable of. Some will argue that it’s an excuse to use a huge amount of CGI, and since it’s become so widely available and easy to use, filmmakers just can’t help themselves going over the top. I don’t agree with the last point too much because Snyder is known from going over the top but we see from 300 and Watchmen he has the ability to use CGI in a way that helps with the story instead of merely using it as a distraction from it.

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Maybe the destruction in these films is for a different purpose. One great theory I heard was that Metropolis would be built up from nothing by Lex Luthor, which would in turn set up the next movie. There were already trucks with LexCorp hidden throughout the movie and it would be a very logical step to take.

I know that many were surprised and deafened by the obliteration of Metropolis, however, I still found the story entertaining, I liked the scenes between Kal-El with Amy Adams’ Lois Lane or his parents in Smallville and it made me want to know more about the Kryptonians and as I sit here considering a second viewing it’s leaving me wondering one thing, do insurance companies even pay out for acts of Zod?