Next James Bond Actor: Casting Search Gets Surprising Update

By Richard Nebens Updated:
James Bond Daniel Craig

As the search for a replacement James Bond star continues, the new movie's casting director shared a surprising update on progress thus far.

2021's No Time to Die marked the final outing as 007 for the most recent Bond, Daniel Craig, as MGM now looks for the eighth actor to take on one of the most famous roles in movie history.

Over the last few months, rumors claimed that former MCU star Aaron Taylor-Johnson was in talks for the role, even with no set release date confirmed for the 26th Bond film.

But with this story having been a staple in Hollywood for well over half a century, the search for the next 007 is one that will have countless fans intrigued.

James Bond played by Daniel Craig

Speaking with Radio Times, James Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams stated that there actually haven't been any conversations with potential actors to play the next James Bond.

McWilliams shared how busy Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and the team have been with other projects while revealing that there is "no conversation being had at the moment" on casting:

"There’s no conversation being had at the moment. Barbara Broccoli has been heavily involved in other projects. You know, it’s not unusual for there to be quite a big gap between different Bonds, it has been known to have a five-year gap. So, no, nothing."

The rumors she hears about who will be the next actor to play the role actually make her "die laughing," as she threw out a theory about how newspapers fill in news gaps with a James Bond story when "they haven’t got anything else to write about:"

"I have a theory, which I’ve trotted out many times, is that when there’s a gap in a newspaper, they fill it with a James Bond story, because they haven’t got anything else to write about. Why people can’t just wait and see, I don’t know."

The casting director admitted that there is "no set process" for casting this role, looking back to the "hundreds of people" she met all over the world in the mid-2000s. Barbara Broccoli was said to be "the main advocate" for Daniel Craig last time, setting her eye on him from the very start:

"When Daniel was cast, I met hundreds of people and travelled here, there and everywhere. Barbara Broccoli was the main advocate – she knew she wanted him pretty much from the beginning, but it was proving to everybody else which was the difficulty."

This comes following Avengers: Age of Ultron's Aaron Taylor-Johnson debunked rumors about being in talks for the role, calling it "flattering" but also trying to stay humble about the possibility as well:

"It’s flattering. You can have something really positive [written about you], but you can also have something really negative that can circulate. You just want to stay in your lane, stay grounded, stay around the people that you love and love you back, and stay in that world. Because the moment you start believing the shit people say about you, you’ve lost your fucking mind. You’ve lost it."

When Will MGM Find New James Bond Star?

More than a year after Daniel Craig's time as 007 ended, it's clear that MGM is taking its time in finding his replacement in order to ensure the best fit possible for the story.

Names like Idris Elba, Henry Cavill, Regé-Jean Page, and Tom Hardy have all been in the mix from fans for the last few years, although fan-casting is where the casting process stops for the time being.

Last June, via TimeOut, Barbara Broccoli shared the timeline for the next Bond movie, saying that a script isn't even written and that filming will be "at least two years away," meaning the movie won't shoot likely until 2024:

"Nobody’s in the running. We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through. There isn’t a script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time. I’d say that filming is at least two years away."

And with previous reports hinting that a casting reveal was coming in either March or April of this year, that timeline certainly seems more likely now that fans know casting hasn't even started yet.

Although fans are certainly hoping for a casting reveal soon, as the practice of fan-casting remains ever-popular across all franchises, Bond 26 still looks to be some time away as MGM prepares for the long casting process.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.