Ever since James Bond star Daniel Craig hinted that he might be ready to hang up the 007 tux for good, speculation has been rife about who could replace him.
Some say Tom Hiddleston, some say Aidan Turner – but one dark horse for some is Happy Valley’s James Norton, who many think is the perfect choice to follow in Craig’s footsteps.
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Of course, Norton isn’t unaware of the intrigue – and so when he was cast in James Watkins and Hoss Ameini’s new crime drama McMafia as a well-dressed, globetrotting suave sort named Alex Godman, he felt the need to warn the series’ creators of just what they were unleashing…
“I did warn James and Hoss that if they wrote the first scene of me getting out of a black cab in a tux that would maybe stir some of it,” Norton told the crowd at a recent McMafia screening.
When pressed on the recent Bond rumours, Norton pointed out that Craig now seems to be playing James Bond for another film or two, rather letting him off the hook for the time being.
‘To be honest,” Norton said, “I am personally very grateful that Daniel Craig is going to do at least one more.
“Maybe two, or five…”
For now anyway, Norton is fully committed to being Alex Godman – which apparently also meant spending his free time in character as the troubled banker, with the actor trying to perform simple everyday tasks from the perspective of his new role.
“I did this bizarre thing where I spent time as Alex doing really mundane stuff, such as buying milk or brushing my teeth, in his headspace with his demons, his conflicts, desires and passions,” Norton explained.
“It meant when I was on set and they called action, the headspace became quickly familiar to me. I think it freaked people out when I walked about as a schizophrenic Russian banker and then would go back to being me, but that’s my process!”
If he brought one smidgen of that commitment to 007, we’re betting he’d be just what the franchise needs.
McMafia begins on BBC1 on New Year’s Day at 9pm, and continues on Tuesday 2nd January