James Bond casting director says young actors lack the ‘gravitas’ to play the iconic superspy
The casting director for the James Bond franchise says younger actors lack the experience and gravitas to play the iconic superspy.
Her Majesty’s Secret Service is looking for a new James Bond after Daniel Craig’s exit from the franchise in 2021’s No Time to Die, but the search is proving to be more challenging than anyone could anticipate. Rumors about a younger Bond making the scene continue to run rampant—however, 007 franchise producer Michael G. Wilson says a salad days version of the British superspy looks unlikely. Wilson recently confirmed the next Bond would be a “thirty-something” actor, dashing the prospects of a Bond who gets carded when buying martinis.
Speaking with Radio Times, Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams explained why a younger actor wouldn’t work for the franchise’s future.
“When we started, it was a slightly different feel,” McWilliams said about the previous search for a new 007 that concluded with Craig landing the role. “We did look at a lot of younger actors, and I just don’t think they had the gravitas. They didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the mental capacity to take it on, because it’s not just the part they’re taking on, it’s a massive responsibility.”
“So we kind of scrubbed that idea and went back to the drawing board and started again,” McWilliams added.
While it seems improbable, fans reacted poorly to Craig’s casting when he agreed to play 007. Angry voices across the internet raged about Craig being unfit for the role, as people who jump to conclusions tend to do. Once fans saw Craig’s performance, many gobbled down a hefty plate of crow. Some things never change, eh?
“It was unbelievably negative, I have to say,” McWilliams told Entertainment Weekly in 2021 about Craig’s casting. “The press response was awful and I felt so sorry for him, but in a funny kind of a way I think it almost spurred him on to do his damndest to prove everybody wrong.”
“The whole way through the film, stuff would come out about [how] he couldn’t walk and talk, he couldn’t run, he couldn’t drive a car properly, so much stuff which was completely and utterly untrue,” she continued. “And he just kept his head down, got on with the job and then the film came out and everybody went, ‘Oh wow, I think we quite like him after all.’”
Wanting to make a point about taking time to cast the next James Bond, McWilliams pointed out that most James Bond actors have resulted from an unlikely choice. Playing James Bond is among the highest honors in action cinema and can catapult any actor to the top of Hollywood’s most-wanted list.
“Timothy Dalton was known, but he was known as a Shakespearean actor, really,” McWilliams said. “Pierce [Brosnan] was known, but that was basically from television. Roger Moore was known from television. Sean Connery wasn’t [known] – nobody had ever heard of him. A certain audience had heard of Daniel Craig, but much more the kind of independent cinema audience. He hadn’t done any huge commercial film at all, really – [2004 film] ‘Layer Cake’ I suppose was the most popular, should we say, of the things he had done prior to Bond, but he wasn’t a hugely well-known actor.”
Does the role of James Bond need an older actor to play the part? Who would you cast as the next James Bond? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.