Younger actors who auditioned for Bond "didn't have the gravitas"
Debbie McWilliams – Casting Director on the Bond series – explains why younger actors failed to land the part of 007.
Though the search for Daniel Craig's successor as James Bond is yet to officially begin, we do know that the next 007 will be "a thirty-something" in line with franchise tradition.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com for our Bond at 70 season, Debbie McWilliams – Casting Director on the 007 film series since 1981 – explained that while younger actors did try out for 2006's Casino Royale, none of them quite fit the bill.
"When we started, it was a slightly different feel," McWilliams said of casting Casino Royale, which was set early in Bond's career at MI6.
"We did look at a lot of younger actors. and I just don't think they had the gravitas, they didn't have the experience, they didn't have the mental capacity to take it on, because it's not just the part they're taking on, it's a massive responsibility.
"So we kind of scrubbed that idea and went back to the drawing board and started again."
That said, an older Bond doesn't necessarily mean an established movie star – McWilliams insisted that the next actor to take up the mantle of Ian Fleming's super spy would simply be "who's best for the part", pointing to the different levels of fame and success enjoyed by previous 007 actors prior to taking on the role.
"Timothy Dalton was known, but he was known as a Shakespearean actor, really. Pierce was known, but that was basically from television. Roger Moore was known from television. Sean Connery wasn't [known] – nobody had ever heard of him.
"A certain audience had heard of Daniel Craig, but much more the kind of independent cinema audience. He hadn't done any huge commercial film at all, really – [2004 film] Layer Cake I suppose was the most popular, should we say, of the things he had done prior to Bond, but he wasn't a hugely well known actor."
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Casino Royale director Martin Campbell previously revealed that among the actors auditioned to play Bond in that film was Henry Cavill, who was then aged just 22 and was indeed ruled out for being too young.
- Read more about Bond at 70:
Following Daniel Craig's departure from the franchise in 2021's No Time to Die, actors linked to Bond in the press have included Cavill (now aged 39), Bridgerton's Regé-Jean Page (34), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (32), Idris Elba (50), Slow Horses star Jack Lowden (32), Tom Hardy (45), and James Norton (37).
No Time to Die is available to stream on Prime Video, with other Bond films also available to purchase – try Amazon Prime Video for free for 30 days.
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