The last week saw conflicting reports on whether or not Daniel Craig was planning to return for another turn as James Bond. First, Craig was reported to have ruled out another turn in the 007 tux. This report alleged the actor turned down a considerable payday as well, forgoing nearly $100 million dollars to play the suave super spy for two more films. A day later, the news was followed by another report that suggested, despite some public and matter-of-fact statements on not wanting to return to the role, the actor had made no such decision and might still consider coming back for another Bond film.
As is the case when things like this happen, casting suggestions have been volleyed from every corner of the Internet, with such non-Craig possibilities as Idris Elba and even Gillian Anderson getting their fair share of attention. So far, the most solid option seems to be Tom Hiddleston, especially following his recent turn in the spy-thriller The Night Manager, but now a new contestant has entered the ring, and it is an unlikely one a that, with Fantastic Four star Jamie Bell confirmed to have spoken to Bond producers.
According to Deadline, Bell "has discussed the Bond role" with Barbara Broccoli, whose family has produced all canonical Bond films since 1962’s Dr. No, and who is also the producer of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, in which Bell is playing the lead. The talks between the actor and producer had been "widely reported," but Deadline has stated the talks have now been confirmed. Adding fuel to the fire is the recent casting of Craig in Steven Soderbergh's upcoming heist film Logan Lucky, which is in addition to his appearing in the television adaptation of Jonathan Franzen's Purity.
Bell is perhaps best known for his starring role in the crowdpleaser Billy Elliot from 2000, but since then he has had starring or co-starring roles in several films, such as Doug Liman's Jumper, the animated The Adventures of Tintin, and Joon-ho Bong's Snowpiercer alongside Chris Evans. Bell was most recently in last year’s ill-fated Fantastic Four film and is currently starring in season 3 of AMC's Turn.
Bell is far from the most intuitive choice. He’s not quite a movie star, nor is he particularly established either as a leading man or in the action-adventure genre. Should Bell play the part, he would tie George Lazenby as the youngest 007 ever; Sean Connery was 32 when he started, while Craig was 38. Hiddleston, the other would-be Bond, is 35; should either he or Bell be cast, they could conceivably play the role for a long time.
Then again, it’s far from a sure thing that Bell will end up playing the role. It’s not known how high-level or serious the talks were, nor have plans for the next Bond film progressed especially far yet. Not only has the next Bond not yet been chosen (nor is Craig completely out of the running at this point), but there isn't even a director or a script in place for the next film.
There is no scheduled release date for the 25th James Bond film, but stay tuned here for news on when Craig or a new 007 is cast.