While Spectre producers have insisted they will hang on to Daniel Craig, the British actor has said quite openly that he’d rather slash his wrists than reprise the role of James Bond anytime soon. So, while our male counterparts were ranking Bond Girls, we decided to come up with a thinking-woman’s list of potential 007s. After some intelligence-gathering of our own, we’ve uncovered some lesser-known qualities that make these men perfect for the part. Admittedly, the contenders range from sexy to drop-dead gorgeous, but that’s par for the course when taking on the mantle of the super-smooth secret agent.
1. Gerard Butler – the Scottish Bond
Gerard’s Celtic heritage secures his place at the top of our list. Bond creator Ian Fleming was so impressed by Scot Sean Connery’s portrayal of 007, that he created a half-Scottish, half-Swiss heritage for Bond in the later novels. As Butler studied law at Glasgow University we know he has an analytical mind, and his charisma and social skills earned him the presidency of his school’s law society. If that’s not enough, Butler, 45, earned a Certificate of Bravery from the Royal Humane Society after saving a drowning boy in the River Tay in the late 1990s.
2. Idris Elba – the first black Bond
The Intrigue over whether Idris, 43, will be cast as Bond is befitting of a suspense thriller – and the level of hype is proof he’s got what it takes. He is clearly not shy of tackling villains; Elba is The Prince's Trust Anti-Crime Ambassador. And he’s got the requisite style; he’s on GQ ‘s 50 best-dressed British men list of 2015. He’d also be an ace in a high-speed car chase, having earlier this year piloted a Bentley to break the ‘Flying Mile’ UK land-speed record set by Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1927.
3. Hugh Jackman – the Aussie Bond
Jackman, 47, was one of the choices to play Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale, but according to a memo leaked to the press, he lost out to Daniel Craig as producers found him “too fey”. We agree he’s not as sophisticated as some of the other contenders, but his parents are English and he’s great at accents. Plus he did his own stunts as Wolverine in X-Men, so he’d have no problem keeping up the increased physicality that Daniel Craig brought to the role.
4. George Clooney – the real-life Bond
All right, at 54 he may seem a little long in the tooth, but Roger Moore was 57 when filming A View to a Kill. And before being tamed by Amal, Clooney’s bachelor lifestyle would have been the envy of 007. Speaking of his wife, with her posh British accent as inspiration, he should have no trouble getting into character. In fact, he’s already played a charming spy in Burn After Reading, and a CIA operative in Syriana. Plus, he’s one of only a few men to grace the cover of Vogue, clinching his style credentials.
5. Daniel Radcliffe - the young Bond
At the other end of the age spectrum, at 26 Daniel might seem too young to play the worldly super sleuth, but George Lazenby was only 30 when he took on the role. Daniel’s been giving off a more sophisticated, brooding look of late, and his staying power is proven; while the Bond series of films in today’s dollars has grossed more than $13 billion worldwide, it still trailing behind the Harry Potter franchise.
6. Ewan McGregor – the cheeky Bond
McGregor, 44, was allegedly dismissed as “too short” to play James Bond by the producers of Casino Royale. But height never got in the way of Tom Cruise’s missions and who could pull off Bond’s double entendres better than Ewan, with his cheeky smile and a twinkle in his eye? Like Gerard Butler he has the Scottish credentials, but even better, he could get tips from Daniel Craig himself as he is scheduled to co-star alongside him in an upcoming film adaptation of a Glen Duncan novel.
7. Benedict Cumberbatch – the old-school Bond
At 39, and with the poshest voice and highest pedigree of our contenders (his royal links include the Queen), Cumberbatch seems an obvious choice. However, the English actor recently told the Guardian that he didn’t think he’d be considered for the part. Although he did add “it would be fun” and gave some food for thought to the producers: “I can wear a suit, and I can fight! I can raise my eyebrow...”
8. Eddie Redmayne – the ginger Bond
Now purists have got used to a blond Bond, it could be time for a ginger, especially one with acting chops like this. Plus Redmayne, 33, like Bond, was educated at Eton (he had classes with Prince William). Speaking to the British Radio Times recently, he joked that he would love to be a Bond villain. While he’s certainly versatile, the baddie role might be too removed from his real nature - according to The Telegraph, the Cambridge alumnus has been quietly helping to put other, less privileged actors through drama school.
9. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – the quirky Bond
In real life, he’s already had the secret meeting in Russia with Edward Snowden, the former CIA operative facing espionage-related charges in the US. Admittedly it was to research his role in upcoming biopic Snowden, but there’s no denying Gordon-Levitt, 34, possesses the intelligence and charm to pull off the sophisticated secret agent role. Plus it might be fun to have a self-identified feminist playing the part!
10. Ryan Gosling – the Blond Bond
Gosling admits to being a bit of a loner, attributing this to his autonomous childhood, which seems fitting for a secret agent. He reportedly created his own idiosyncratic accent modelled on Marlon Brando’s, as he thought a Canadian one didn’t sound tough enough; so he’ll probably be comfortable adopting a British one. But mainly, we are just keen to resurrect those Gosling memes – how does “Hey, Bond Girl…” sound?
Spectre will hit Dubai cinemas on November 6.