Tom Hiddleston Should Be The Next James Bond

An argument for why British actor Tom Hiddleston should land the eponymous secret agent role, with respect to author Ian Fleming's original vision.
Tom Hiddleston suited and booted in 'The Night Manager'
Tom Hiddleston suited and booted in 'The Night Manager'

An ongoing favourite bet at the bookies’ for the past few years has been “who will play the next James Bond?”. It’s a poorly kept secret that Bonds’ next outing will be Daniel Craigs' last. Craig has said previously that he'd rather "slash his wrists" than play Bond again, before proceeding to film another one, saying that it was "only for the money".

The latest Bond movie 'No Time To Die' is being released this fall, having been held back many times due to the pandemic. The time has come for a fresh take on the role, with someone who suits the coy, charismatic grace that the role demands.

Common muscular white male contenders range from Tom Hardy to Henry Cavill, while others feel that changing the race or gender of the role would be a  welcome change: throwing names like Idris Elba and Gillian Anderson into the ring. While any actor can lend his or her own unique take on the role, I personally back another contender whose name appears on the bookies’ list, albeit with rather high odds.

Now author Ian Fleming based his iconic British character on actor Christopher Lee and his experiences in World War 2. They were even related: Lee was Fleming's cousin by marriage. Lee had worked for British Intelligence during the war and the RAAF.

He tracked down suspected Nazis for the UN's War Crimes Commission. Easy to understand where the inspiration for Bond came from, Lee was an impressive man with many accolades. While never landing the eponymous role, he gave a memorable turn as villain Francisco Scaramanga, in “The Man With The Golden Gun”. 

Christopher Lee as Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun
Christopher Lee as Scaramanga in 'The Man With the Golden Gun'. Source: James Bond 007

Ian Fleming had his own idea for the build and profile of his Bond based on Lee and drew his own sketch to envision his appearance. The thin face and widows’ peak, and rather slighter build than the muscular modern profiles, are all reminiscent of Lee.

And it may not be an exact match, but given the other brawny contenders, Fleming's profile makes me favour actor Tom Hiddleston to be more in line with Flemings’ original vision.

Fleming's sketch of what Bond should look like
 Source: Wikipedia

Anyone who has seen Tom Hiddleston in “The Night Manager” would agree that he played a similar Bond-esque role as a suave, charismatic spy. “The Night Manager” showed that Hiddleston can play a well-spoken, erudite classic English gentleman.

This approach is more in line with the original James Bonds' style, formerly played to perfection by the likes of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton. Before "The Night Manager", he might not even have been considered, but the role showed his debonair style as a forerunner for Bond.

While other modern-day action heroes require Adonis-style muscles and a grueling fitness regime before every movie appearance, Bond used to always be about charisma, subtlety, and finesse. Bond used to be more about subtle eyebrow raises, and witty one-liners in the face of adversity. It's time to get back to that. That's the Bond from the '60s and '70s, with campy action and humour, that is more endearing than the gritty action movies of today.

Muscle has become the modern 'go-to' for male-centric roles in Western cinema, since the rise of superhero movies. The expectations of male actors are to look like comic book characters, with unachievable, exaggeratedly drawn muscles. Sex sells right? Muscles aren't everything and certainly not where Bond is concerned. It's the wrong approach for such a character.

All the best Bond performances have been from average build men; charm is what's needed here. Hiddleston’s household name role as Loki in the Marvel Universe further demonstrates his style of brains over brawn, emanating an aloof sneakiness that is further reminiscent of the classic spy.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Marvel Studio's 'Loki' Source: Time Out

Indeed I'm not the first person to make the connection between "The Night Manager" and a potential James Bond role. Rumours that Hiddleston might be Bond have been circulating for some time ever since, and Hiddleston spoke to Empire to address them:

"What can I say that you don't already know? It's interesting in itself that I've suddenly become very aware of what I'm saying, is it not? Because there's something about what I'm saying that becomes the story. Not for you, but for the world outside. Whatever I say, I've found, generated more questions."

While characteristically coy, it's neither a yes nor a no, and he realises that it can be interpreted as such. As ambiguous as Hiddleston's reply seems, it sounds as though he hasn't been approached to play the role or even shortlisted.

His reply could either be a red herring or a dash of cold water to fans' hopes for the role. But never say never: at the time of this writing no one is confirmed to play Bond yet, and the fact that Hiddleston is on the bookies' list shows that there's a chance.

Loki as DB Cooper
Always smiling: Loki as DB Cooper in Marvel's 'Loki'. Source: Popsugar 

Marvel Studio's 'Loki' further threw fuel on the Bond fire by including a flashback scene where Hiddleston's Loki was seen to be none other than the wily conman D.B. Cooper.

His appearance is similar to the original sketches of Cooper, but more than this they showed Hiddleston in a suit, with a briefcase, looking for all the world like a James Bond. The widow's peak and thin face again match Ian Fleming's original sketch and likeness for the character.

In conclusion, it's understandable that in modern times filmmakers are reluctant to always opt for a straight white male: it’s an overused trope that doesn’t allow for inclusion.

But with this particular role, at least for a couple of films to try it out, Tom Hiddleston would be the name I’d throw into the ring. While he may not be immediately recognisable as a Bond, or a lot of peoples’ favourite contender, it’s a vision I can see really clearly; and one I’d wager that Fleming himself would see as well.

Jason is a freelance content writer living in Nottinghamshire whose preferred topics are movie/game reviews and climate change.

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