Paul F. Tompkins helps us ask: Who should be the next James Bond?
Consider the merits of a soft 007
It’s tough to discuss No Time to Die, Eon Productions’ 25th James Bond film, without massive spoilers. Some things happen that will fundamentally change the way you look at the character and the franchise. No, he doesn’t move to Seattle and start a grocery co-op, but it’s close.
What we can say for sure is that Daniel Craig has finally, officially abdicated the role of 007. As these films always promise, “James Bond Will Return” — but as who? Will it be another white guy? Can Eon take another big risk and cast a person of color or a woman? Or will they maintain the status quo and find a guy who kinda sorta acts like Daniel Craig?
On this week’s Galaxy Brains, special guest co-host Jon Gabrus and I are joined by comedian and Bond fan Paul F. Tompkins to discuss our love of the British superspy and speculate on who’s next in line to step into the Aston Martin DB5.
As always, this conversation has been edited to sound less weird.
Dave: Who is the next James Bond and is it Kumail Nanjiani?
Paul: I will say this. They’re never, ever going to let someone play James Bond who does not have a native British accent. They’re never going to let somebody who is not born in the United Kingdom ever play James Bond.
Jon: I support that rule. I don’t care about race, creed, color, gender, any of that. But I think you’ve got to have a native British accent. It’s the only rule. I’m with you on that.
Paul: But see, I think it’s kind of unfair. We’ve had an English Superman. That’s fucked up.
Dave: It always goes the other way, doesn’t it?
Paul: Yeah, exactly.
Dave: I understand and I agree with you that James Bond should be British, but George Lazenby is from Australia. He was Australian and we know that accent sounds like death and it should not be James Bond. I don’t have a problem with the Australian people. I have a problem with their accent and possibly being James Bond. It just doesn’t work for me.
Paul: Was he not doing a British accent or an English accent?
Dave: He tried. He definitely tried out an English accent for James Bond.
Paul: My wife and I were saying this afterwards like, it can’t be Idris Elba. He’s already too old. Like the way they make these movies. Now you’ve got to get somebody who is 40 at the oldest.
John: I think Hollywood 40, which is like, culturally 28.
Dave: Daniel Craig was dragging ass after Spectre to the point where he was saying “I would rather slit my wrists than do another one of these movies.”
Jon: Well, he’s straight up like, “the stunts are hard now.” And that’s the most relatable shit in the world! He’s like, “Dude, I just did Knives Out. I was sitting in his sweater and riffing with all the best actors of my generation.”
Dave: If you look at behind the scenes photos of Roger Moore making Moonraker, he’d sit there smoking a cigar, eating a turkey sandwich. He doesn’t have to do anything.
Paul: I think he’s in the background of some of the stunt scenes.
Jon: “Well, that was the one set up we had money for.” Who do we want then? Who would we be stoked to see as James Bond if we’re following our own rules of British accents? I mean, it would be badass to see Michaela Coel from I May Destroy You.
Jon: I was trying to think of someone who would be surprising to dress them up and become badass and also is British and has some juice that people would want to see in the movie. So that’s where my brain landed.
Paul: That’s the thing now is it has to be somebody that is a known quantity, like the days of “we did a nationwide talent search.” That’s over. It’s got to be somebody who makes you say, “Oh, I like that person.”
Jon: I didn’t think of this until you said it before. The age has to be right because they’re signing on for 12 years of movies, maybe.
Dave: And all the press, and you got to stay in shape, and you can’t be seen in sweatpants. Dev Patel has been bandied about quite a bit. Dev is incredibly handsome. Everybody loves him. Everybody finds him to be sexy and cool. I don’t know if you guys saw The Green Knight, but that was a movie where he just had this kind of lived in gravitas and sexual magnetism, carrying a sword and doing all that cool stuff. I think he would be really meaningful even more than a Black James Bond. To have a South Asian James Bond? Because of the history of British colonialism. So I think Dev Patel would be awesome and would be able to do all the things that you need and it would really send a signal to people in the UK.
Jon: And the press around Dev Patel getting yoked or hand-to-hand combat training or whatever. You know, there’s going to be a ton of Instagram thirst and shit towards him — coming from yours truly as well.