Who will be the next Bond?
Daniel Craig claims he has no desire to play the iconic character in the future and there's already talk about who will step into his shoes
If the British tabloids are to be believed - and they are usually good at this sort of thing - then Daniel Craig will never play James Bond again. This is not a huge surprise. When Craig was promoting Spectre - perhaps his last outing as Bond - he told an interviewer that he had no desire to ever play Bond again. In fact, he said, he would rather slash his wrists than don that shoulder holster again.
More tellingly, he also broke the first rule of Bond promotion. He put down the character and the series. Asked about the decision to cast Monica Bellucci who is, well, a woman of a certain age, as one of Bond's conquests in Spectre, he said that when someone like Bellucci says she is willing to part of something like a Bond film, you don't think twice; you just say "thank you".
James Bond actors are not allowed to do that. You have to pretend that the series is so great that it is an honour for any actor or actress to be featured in a Bond picture.
He also began rubbishing the Bond character. In promotional interviews, the Bond cast is supposed to talk about what a fun-loving but dangerous playboy Bond is. But Craig broke ranks to suggest that Bond was a flawed, lonely man who was a misogynist.
You don't do any of that unless you intend to get out. Rubbishing James Bond brings back uncomfortable memories of the last years of Sean Connery, who hated the Bond producers and took to telling the press that Bond was just a boring policeman. Or George Lazenby, who, after his one outing as Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, came out as a make-love-not-war hippie and ridiculed Bond as a tool of the establishment.
So yes, it does rather look like Craig has had it with the role.
Or, on the other hand, maybe not.
After Connery rubbished Bond, stopped talking to Cubby Broccoli (the then producer of the Bond movies), and carved out a career for himself, he was lured back to play Bond (once Lazenby walked out) in Diamonds Are Forever. What made him change his mind?
Money. Lots and lots of it.
And then, a decade later, a much older Connery played Bond once again in a rebel Bond movie produced by Kevin McClory, who had the movie rights to Thunderball and remade it as Never Say Never Again.
Why did Connery return to a role he hated?
Yes. You guessed it: money, once again!
I will say this of Roger Moore: though he thought the films were a joke, he never broke ranks in public. But, after each movie, (once the initial contract was over and he was established as Bond in the public's imagination), he would declare that he would not play Bond again.
This would set off an elaborate poker game during which the producers would publicly test other actors for the role. Eventually Broccoli would match Moore's demands and he would be back as James Bond.
In retrospect, people who complain about Bond fare better with the producers than those who toe the party line. Timothy Dalton, an excellent Bond in his first outing, said nothing even when they put him in a really bad second film (Licence to Kill - the worst Bond movie of all time). But he got nothing for his loyalty. The US studios asked for him to be replaced by Pierce Brosnan (who had wanted the role when Dalton got it, but had been committed to TV's Remington Steele).
Brosnan was a perfectly good Bond in a male-model-sort-of-way but, one fine day, they chucked him overboard. The success of the Bourne franchise had convinced them that James Bond needed a reboot, and so they signed Daniel Craig, even though Brosnan was still keen to continue in the role.
So, if Craig does drop out, then who will be the next Bond?
Daniel Craig might be moving on from playing James Bond after Spectre (Getty)
Well, you can forget about Idris Elba. An actor of colour playing the role of Bond will work in the UK (and possibly in the US) but the series makes over half its profits from international audiences, and the rest of the world is not ready for a black Bond.
There are rumours that Idris Elba might be the next Bond (Getty)
At present, the smart money is on ex-Etonian Tom Hiddleston (Loki in Thor and the Avengers movies), especially after his stellar performance in The Night Manager (based loosely on the John Le Carre novel) - probably one of the best TV shows ever made. Hiddleston has Bond's ability to go from being all charming and intelligent (Hiddleston got a Double First at Cambridge) to suddenly being a man of violence.
Tom Hiddleston (Loki in Thor and The Avengers) is another possible Bond (Getty)
But he still looks too much like Loki, in my mind, to fill James Bond's shoes.
My favourite, at the moment, is Damian Lewis (another Old Etonian) who you may remember as Brody from Homeland and Henry VIII in Wolf Hall. I reckon he's perfect for the role.
Damian Lewis might be the pick of the lot to be the next Bond (Getty)
But the producers have pulled surprises before. Craig, for example, was on nobody's shortlist.
So who is to say who will be the next man to say the iconic words, "My name is Bond, James Bond"?