Contrary to previous reports, Daniel Craig has as yet made no decision on whether to return as 007 for James Bond 25. Craig expressed a certain disdain for the whole enterprise of James Bond after his appearance as the secret agent in the blockbuster Spectre, leading to speculation that Craig would vacate the Bond mantle he has held since Casino Royale in 2006.
The Bond franchise was somewhat in limbo after Pierce Brosnan exited following 2002's Die Another Day, but was given a shot in the arm when Craig teamed with director Martin Campbell for Casino Royale - a movie that ditched the escalating silliness of the Brosnan years in favor of a more grounded treatment of the subject matter. Craig proved to be the perfect actor to embody a grittier, tougher, more human incarnation of Bond and the series soared to new box office heights with him in the role.
Though recent reports indicated that Craig was virtually a lock to return for a fifth go-around as James Bond, Craig said in a new interview that he still hasn't made a decision either way (via Magic 106.7):
“No decision has been made at the moment, there's a lot of noise out there and nothing official has been confirmed and I'm not, like, holding out for more money or doing anything like that. It's just all very personal decisions to be made at the moment... I know they're desperate to get going and I would in theory love to do it, but there is no decision, uh, just yet."
Craig seems keenly aware of the ongoing conversation about his return to the franchise being a lock, and apparently wants to tamp down such reports. By the sound of it, Craig is keen to take on the role but doesn't want to commit 100% until everything is in place the way he wants it. This will naturally lead to speculation that Craig is holding out for more money, but it could also be that he's trying to use his leverage in order to secure a certain director or win other creative concessions from Eon Productions.
With Craig's participation in Bond 25 still up in the air, fans have turned to fun games of bandying about names of actors who could possibly replace him. Obvious prospects like Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch get mentioned a lot, but there has been growing sentiment that the Bond role requires a shake-up and should be given to a non-white actor like Idris Elba, or even a woman like Charlize Theron. One wild-card name that's been thrown into the mix is Tom Hardy, an actor who has expressed interest in joining the franchise, even suggesting that he could bring his frequent collaborator Christopher Nolan (an avowed Bond fan himself) along for the ride.
Whoever winds up taking on the role of Bond (and Craig has to remain the odds-on favorite in spite of all his holding out) will inherit a franchise that has been riding a wave of huge box office success for over a decade, but nevertheless feels like it's at a bit of a creative cross-roads. Though Spectre did well financially, there are many who think Bond needs to at least tweak the formula a little bit, and some will even argue that the series would be better off if Craig left.
Source: Magic 1067
- James Bond 25 (2019) release date: Feb 14, 2020