After Pierce Brosnan played the role of James Bond from 1995 to 2005, the franchise started looking for the next 007 who would replace him. They had narrowed their options down to two names. The first was Daniel Craig, who then went on with the role in the pioneering Casino Royale, directed by Martin Campbell.
The second name, who was also a genuine affirmation, was the good old Witcher Henry Cavill. The actor was 22 when considered for the role, and in the fifteen years since then, has been “pushing” to tap into becoming the next James Bond. More now since Craig’s obligation to the franchise has come to an end with Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time To Die, which had to be prolonged.
Martin Campbell, who also directed the franchise debut GoldenEye starring Craig, had seemingly voted a yes for Henry Cavill. But his vote fell short against Eon Productions’ executives and producers Barbara Broccoli and Micheal G. Wilson. The team thought it would be better if the franchise had an older experienced face to play the part of the world’s most enigmatic spy. Seeing a 22-year-old university student would just be unfitting. Hence, when it came down to it, Craig bested Cavill by being older.
Only recently did Cavill talked about another reason why the actor couldn’t bag the role back then. He said that during the audition process he wasn’t in the best shape.
“It was his tough love way of saying, ‘Look, mate, you’re in a Bond screen test. Next time you come to a screen test, really focus hard on making sure you lean up if it’s for something like Bond,’”
The Witcher lead recalls from a conversation with director Martin Campbell.
“And I wasn’t by any means chubby, but I was probably overweight for taking my shirt off on camera.”
However, we’re at the point where both these issues have been conveniently resolved. Henry Cavill is 38 years old which is a year older than Craig was when he was picked for the role in 2005. Additionally, Cavill has managed to build the prominence and the fame of having one of the most spectacular physique in Hollywood. With that out the way, the eligibility requirement for being the next James Bond might have changed in the last fifteen years and to pass for the role now could still be tricky.
The actor’s filmography plays a big role in deciding whether he qualifies or not. Among these are three titles most quintessential, namely Man of Steel, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Mission Impossible – Fallout. However, Argylle, Henry’s upcoming action thriller would probably be the best grounds for reason. The movie is a story adaptation by Matthew Vaughm, who made Kingsmen, and is believed to “reinvent the spy genre.” But since neither Elli Conway nor Matthew have released a teaser for the novel or the movie, there is very little to go with there.
Immortals, the Greek mythology-based movie, was Henry’s first big-budget endeavour. And yet it was when he took on the role of Clark Kent aka the Superman, that he gained recognition for having the power potential. While the latest ambition by the franchise, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and the DC Extended Universe, have lacked to deliver in many ways, there is no denying that Man of Steel managed to give Cavill a cinematic legacy and a people-pleasing capacity that would be remembered for generations.
The character of James Bond has fabricated a distinct identity for himself, and it is mainly two things. It is a harmonisation of a poised urbane savoir-faire that matches the charm of Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery and Roger Moore, accompanied with a pompous desire for atrocity, guts and the barbarity of getting into a good old fashioned fist fight brutal enough to knock the breath out but stylish enough to not stain that custom made suit, which is how Daniel Craig does it.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E., helmed by Guy Ritchie, is practically a big screen audition by Henry Cavill for James Bond, where he plays Napolean Solo. Cavill portrays the mischievous allure and the breezy death-or-glory attitude against Armie Hammer’s non-communicative and hard-headed Illua Kuryakin. All this while facing the Cold War, which is nothing short of a textbook James Bond.
Henry Cavill plays August Walker / John Lark, CIA double agent in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which is practically what Hollywood has to say about the next James Bond series. While functioning as a classified fiend, Cavill’s personality screams with disquiet. The villain Walker / Lark works with rash wantonness, and his hasty self before the turn is what makes the baddie in his glow. Besides, that one fight scene in the bathroom stall reminded us an awful lot of Craig’s Casino Royale’s beginning.
With that said, it is clear that the actor has been tiptoeing around the Bond territory ever since he was turned down, and it looks like he’s been doing it effortlessly. However, the franchise’s casting criteria is actually what makes him a riveting choice for becoming the next James Bond.
As pointed out by Mark O’Connell, James Bond expert and author of Catching Bullets – Memoirs Of A Bond Fan, it has been a tradition for plausible 007 actors to have had a successful career playing an MI6 intelligence officer, which is as close as Cavill can get to qualifying.
In an interview with Express.co.uk back in 2019, Mark O’Connell elaborated on the subject and said, “Roger Moore was considered for Sean Connery’s Dr No, Timothy Dalton was looked at when he was just 21 in the era of George Lazenby’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and later Diamonds Are Forever.” He added, “They looked at everyone for Diamonds Are Forever, as they were slightly panicking [after George Lazenby turned down more Bond films after just one outing].”
The franchise influenced Sean Connery and got him to stay for one more movie, after which Roger Moore debuted with Live & Let Die, continuing in Connery’s legacy. Also, a predetermined obligation between Pierce Brosnan for NBC’s Remington Steele(which was once cancelled, but soon saved), was why the actor couldn’t make it to the franchise for The Living Daylights in 1987. And for the duration that Brosnan took to finish the series and appear with the unforgettable GoldenEye in 1995, we got Timothy Dalton in three Bond films.
Evidently so, all the cards have settled into Cavill’s deck, and there is no way a casting algorithm could be so brutal as to turn him down once again. Because Cavill has fans who would want to see him drive an Aston Martin, wearing a tailor made suit, gulping down martinis, hunt down aides, cracking his Walther PPK, and sarcastically spitting out blood.
“If [producer Barbara Broccoli] and Mike [co-producer Michael G. Wilson] were interested in that, I would absolutely jump at the opportunity,”
Henry Cavill had once told GQ.
“At this stage, it’s all up in the air. We’ll see what happens. But yes, I would love to play Bond. It would be very, very exciting.”
And exciting it will be. For Cavill and us, both.
Having said that, there are still speculations on who else could be a worthy prospect for playing the next James Bond. The few interesting names that made the list are Tom Hiddleston, Cillian Murphy, Sam Heughan, Michael Fassbender, Michael B. Jordan, Damian Lewis, Regé-Jean Page, Luke Evans, and Tom Hardy.