Friday, May 27, 2016

Opinion: ...and the next Bond is?

Where in the world would Hollywood movies be without proper casting?! Although it would have been interesting to see Shirley Temple as Dorothy, Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones or even Kate Jackson as Joanna Kramer (one can always wonder), the character of James Bond is a different beast because multiple actors have (and most likely will) portrayed the recurring, iconic role. Of course for me, there is only one true Bond and he is Sean Connery, the actor that originated the role and quite frankly, perhaps the best actor to portray of the nuances of Bond... ever!
Sean Connery originated Ian Fleming's master spy in "Dr. No".
Even the dastardly remake of "Thunderball", entitled "Never Say Never Again", was an earnest attempt to woo Connery back to the franchise despite his age and despite his saying, in real life, 'never again'. In my opinion, Connery set a very high standard with his interpretation of Bond, one that has been often duplicated, but never one that can be compared. Roger Moore's "Bond", on the contrary (and aside from "Live and Let Die"), seemed almost the polar opposite of the Bond who Connery portrayed. Moore's Bond was bit comical at time, mundane at others, and definitely a few notches removed from the intensity and realism of prior Bond films. 
Roger Moore jumped from television to the big screen in "Live and Let Die". 
In perhaps the only "hiccup" (meaning one-timer) of the franchise, the producers looked to George Lazenby (after Connery wanted out of the role) to succeed in the franchise with "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Lazenby had never acted in a movie prior to this one (he and producer Albert Broccoli met while at at barbershop) and was an Australian transplant to London for modeling work. I liked Lazenby in the role of Bond as I thought he was believable and effective, given the screenplay (which included one of my favorite British actresses of the time, Diana Rigg), but comparisons to Connery were expected; I'd like to think they interpreted the role differently. 

George Lazenby portrayed Bond only once and went up against Telly Savalas as the evil played 
Blofeld in that film. 
Oddly enough, there was a "Charlie's Angels" episode that featured Timothy Dalton as a master jewel thief who had, as Charlie described, "almost James Bond-ian" and who, unlike Bond, was impervious to feminine charms (except for Farrah's 'Jill'). Turns out Dalton played Bond twice -"The Living Daylights" and "Licence to Kill"  - to some good reviews. I thought Dalton's intensity (especially in his eyes) as Bond captured a different side of the character and made the tension in the role very palpable and therefore believable in both films. I enjoyed his performance as Bond and, if we're still counting, rank him behind Connery and Craig. 
Timothy  Dalton's Bond was the "victim" of the AIDS crises in that the writers felt that showing a more traditionally promiscuous Bond would not be in the best taste of the worldwide health epidemic.  

Before he was Bond, he was Remington Steele (a series I actually enjoyed). When Pierce Brosnan inherited the role, I thought the "over-the-top" effects would be less and that there would be a return to a more traditional mano-a-mano type of Bond (like Connery's films) that uses both his wits and his hands to get out of jams. To some degree, this is the case with Brosnan's films but there's also that "sun ray" film (Die Another Day) which had a LOT of CGI, etc. I didn't believe Brosnan's Bond because I never quite felt that he had a solid interpretation or understanding of the role and because I did not think there was uniform level of intensity to his acting. The screenplays were interesting but sometimes the 'villain' and ergo the villainy is quite flushed out (for example, I enjoyed "Tomorrow Never Dies", especially the action sequences with Michelle Yeogh, but I didn't understand the motivation of Jonathan Pryce's evil Elliot Carver). 
Pirece Brosnan as Bond put me to sleep. 
Thank goodness for Daniel Craig - and for the story arch that crosses all four of his Bond films. I appreciated his interpretation and portrayal of Bond because it echoes back to Connery's. Craig is all business in the films (how could you NOT take your eyes off the opening parkour sequence in Casino Royale?) and there's an intensity there that isn't written into the scripts. Skyfall by far was superlatively and unexpectedly intense which was a welcomed film from some of the former weaker ones. But with Craig now bowing out of the role, it's interesting who is now being considered for the iconic role. 

Daniel Craig...seriously intense and surgically efficient as Bond. Masterfully acted with impetuousness, contempt, devil may care bravado and just the right amount of ego.  

Among the actors being considered....

I think he's an exceptional actor who hasn't yet deserved a lot of recognition for his non-"Loki" roles. His portrayal of "Coriolanus" in that Shakespeare tragedy was one of the best performances on stage I have seen and his work on "The Night Manager" is getting some critical reviews. I think he'd be an interesting Bond - I've never seen him in a that particular kind of genre or in that particular kind of role. 


I think Hardy is this generation's "de Niro". He would completely kill (no pun intended) as Bond; but it wouldn't be the Bond that the producers would want. Hardy's Bond wouldn't be dapper or even 'civil' and, I think, would be much rawer and looser, feelings deeply hidden but ideas and actions on a perennial 5th gear. 


 A phenomenal choice for Bond and I'm sure one that would give an entirely new meaning and depth to the role. Elba could distinctly and definitively play Bond - intensely, instinctively and intelligently. 


I just saw "The Lobster" and was absolutely fascinated by Farrell's portrayal of the title character. He's done a handful of action flicks (very believable in them) and I have no doubt he would be a solid Bond; dutifully different (perhaps in an edgier way) but still solid. 


Henry is probably one of the top choices to play Bond and he's created a very successful resume of movies and roles - which actually may work against him; he's much too identified to the role of Superman that perhaps the producers might think THAT role would overshadow his turn as  Bond. And, I also think Henry needs to be a bit more brooding and introspective as Bond, which I'm not sure he's displayed in other roles. Don't get me wrong; he'd make a terrific Bond but I'm not sure it's the kind of Bond that the producers want, particularly after Daniel Craig's high bar-setting performance. 


Wow! Never thought they'd consider Michael Fassbender for 007. Now HE would make an intense Bond, particularly because of his superlative performance in "Macbeth" last year. Fassbender is also tied to Magneto in the X-MEN franchise but unlike Cavill, Michael has done work in so many obscure yet worthwhile films (Slow West, The Counselor, Centurion, etc.) that show the breadth of his versatility. I think he'd make an intriguing Bond because you'd never know what he'd be bringing to the table. 


Yes, I did see "Fifty Shades of Grey" and yes, I will never get those minutes of my life back. And most particularly, yes, I did think Dornan's performance was cheesy and lackluster [hey, with lines like, "I like to fuck...I like to fuck hard!", can you blame him 100%?!] and I'm not sure he has the necessary acting chops to carry Bond to believability. 

JACK REYNOR Jack could make an interesting day. 


The right temperament, the right amount of brooding and the right amount of cockiness...Luke Evans would make an extremely, extremely interesting Bond and I could imagine him in the role. Unfortunately, I don't think the producers are as open to having an openly gay actor play the role ONLY because of the credibility he would need to establish with relation to the Bond women....I'm just sayin'! 


These are all fine actors who have done work in mostly television shows, not so much on the big screen. But, I do have confidence that can each lay Bond solidly albeit differently. I would also say that it wouldn't be a surprise if the producers selected a complete unknown, as well. That's really never happened before!!! Hahahahaha.