Sean Connery. Roger Moore. Pierce Brosnan. Daniel Craig.
Being associated with the James Bond franchise stays with an actor. It’s always a highlight of their resume, right up there with winning an Oscar.
Even those who’ve only shone briefly in the role, such as George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton, are forever linked to the series. It’s a perennial feather in their caps.
No wonder the competition to be the next Bond is at hot as many of the leading ladies who’ve starred alongside 007.
In fact, such is the desire to be bound to the role of Bond that there are even online sports betting sites like the BetOnline sportsbook that offer wagering on entertainment outcomes such as when Craig, who’s been the star of the elaborate spy films since 2005, decides that he’s finally had enough of being Bond . . . James Bond.
Let’s look at some of the top contenders, with their current odds.
James Norton (+150)
The British actor is the favorite to be the next Bond. He’s currently the star of the British TV series McMafia, where he plays the son of a Russian mobster seeking a path out of life in the criminal underworld.
“The truth is that it’s total speculation,” Norton told RadioTimes.com of the Bond rumors. “It’s really humbling and flattering, but to have my name [talked up for Bond] next to the likes of Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender is just mad.
“If you’re thinking of putting a bet on me, keep your money in your pocket.”
Similar to Moore prior to his acceptance of the Bond role in 1973, Norton, 35, is mostly known for his television work. He’s appeared in top British series such as Happy Valley and Grantchester. Norton also played the lead role in a 2016 TV remake of War & Peace. In 2015, he was nominated for a best supporting actor BAFTA for his work on Happy Valley.
Idris Elba (+400)
There’s a lot that makes sense about installing Elba as the next Bond and it has nothing at all to do with political correctness or any attempt to pander to the woke crowd. In fact, Elba has admitted he’s disheartened when people suggest that he can’t play Bond due to the color of his skin.
It shouldn’t be a factor. Elba could bring the total package to the Bond role.
He’s got the on-screen presence of Connery and the smooth, suave demeanor suited to the character. The ladies will tell you that he’s easy on the eyes and he’s got the fitness making it believable that he could pull off the physical requirements of the many chase scenes in a Bond movie. As an added bonus, Elba’s sense of humor would enable him to bring a similar glibness to the role that Moore supplied.
There’s no question that he possesses the acting chops to pull it off. Elba starred in critically-acclaimed HBO series The Wire. He’s played Nelson Mandela on screen. The British actor has won a Golden Globe and been nominated for one of four other occasions.
Richard Madden (+400)
Madden gained notoriety as Robb Stark on HBO’s Game Of Thrones. His work in the lead role as a secret service agent in The Bodyguard not only won him a Golden Globe, it was good prep work to play Bond.
Tom Hiddleston (+600)
The Cambridge-educated Hiddleston is familiar from his work in several Marvel superhero films. He won a Golden Globe for his role in the TV series The Night Manager and has twice been nominated for prime-time Emmys.
Tom Hardy (+600)
Tom Hardy is another British actor considered a contender to be the next James Bond. Photo by: GabboT (flickr).
Hardy was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2018 for his work as an actor. He’s won critical acclaim for his work in such films as Black Hawk Down and RockNRolla and TV series including Band Of Brothers and Peaky Blinders. However, he might be best known for portraying Batman nemesis Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
Jack Lowden (+600)
English-born and Scottish-raised, Lowden doesn’t own as deep an acting resume as some of the other leading contenders. He gained attention for his performance in a main role as an RAF fighter pilot in the 2017 film Dunkirk.
Cillian Murphy (+600)
From rock star to James Bond? Murphy launched his on-stage career in the band The Sons of Mr. Greengenes. The group was offered a five-record deal but Murphy turned his back on song for the theater.
Today, he’s best known as a star on the BBC drama Peaky Blinders. Murphy could be the first Irish Bond.
Jude Law (+800)
There was a time when Law as Bond would’ve made plenty of sense. He was exactly the type to play the role – handsome, smooth with the ladies, glib, sure of himself – but that was many years ago.
Today, Law is about a decade removed from his tenure as a Hollywood leading man.
Henry Cavill (+1000)
From Superman to James Bond – that would be quite a leap, even for the man of steel. Cavill does have some spy movie experience, with roles in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible.