When you’re a fan of a particular film franchise, that becomes the thing with which people associate you. And that’s nice, because then they send you things related to that franchise. My house is a testament to this, becoming over the last decade a repository for all the random James Bond-related things people send me. They sent posters, memorabilia, LPs, books.
Sometimes, like today, they send information.
If you’ve read the Bond coverage on this site, you know we don’t run tabloid rumors or speculation without clearly identifying them as such. They’re fun to debate and discuss, but we’re always very careful to separate gossip from actual information. It’s important to keep that in mind as we tell you that sources close to Tom Hiddleston have told Birth.Movies.Death. that Tom Hiddleston is in fact in advanced talks to take over the role of James Bond from Daniel Craig.
Choosing words carefully, our source confirms that while talks have indeed taken place, and that Hiddleston very much wants the job (a fact of which he’s made no secret), no official offer has been made - yet.
There are a couple ways to parse this news. One is to take it at face value: Daniel Craig is out, the role of 007 is open, and it may very well be Hiddleston’s for the taking. Another is to apply the lessons Vincent Chase and Ari Gold taught us back on Entourage: Eon might be talking to other actors in an attempt to catalyze a response from Craig. If it’s the latter, c'est la guerre, I guess. If it’s the former, our source is for the first time confirming what’s been, until now, nothing but tabloid rumor-mongering.
The idea of Tom Hiddleston as 007 fills me with conflict. Of all the 007 franchise traditions Daniel Craig has navigated in the past decade, I was really hoping “ends on a stinker” would be one he could dodge. At the end of the day his run revitalized the franchise, and it will be a shame if he doesn't get to go out on a win.
Putting aside those feelings, Eon's pursuit of Hiddleston represents compellingly uncharted territory. There are, historically, three varieties of Bond casting: actors not terribly well-known when cast (Sean Connery/Timothy Dalton/Daniel Craig); popular favorites/household names (Roger Moore/Pierce Brosnan); and George Lazenby. What’s interesting about Hiddleston is that he’s firmly on the Moore/Brosnan end of the recognizability spectrum, but anyone who’s seen Hiddleston in High-Rise or The Night Manager knows he’s got an unpredictable, dangerous, and unknowable quality that neither Moore nor Brosnan possessed. It’s also worth noting that if cast, Hiddleston would be the first Bond actor who shares an educational background with both the literary 007 and Ian Fleming himself: all three attended Eton College in their respective youths. A 007 cut from the same cloth as 007's creator could hint toward a new (or classic, one supposes) direction for the character and, by extension, for the franchise.
Or not! I can’t quite get my head around just what flavor of 007 Tom Hiddleston would be tapped to deliver. Frankly, if anything, THAT’S what makes his casting an exciting prospect. Giving an audience what they expect is what led to the lazier entries of the franchise, and much like the craignotbond.com days of 2005, it seems Eon will be charting its own course.