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7 best Bond casting decisions

With Sam Mendes’ second Bond film Spectre set to wow audiences up and down the country with its two and a half hours of breathless action, talk has turned to whether this outing is due to be Daniel Craig’s last in the tux. Until recently, the common consensus was that the 47-year-old had at least one more 007 movie in him. But recent comments from the man himself suggest that he might not be returning. It’s too early to speculate on his replacement at the moment, but we’re sure whoever it’ll be, will be more than capable. Is anyone else hoping for Tom Hardy?

What are we basing this on? Well, Cubby and Barbara Brocolli and the rest of the team have a pretty good record of getting the big casting decisions right. Throughout the years, they’ve got the big calls spot on. And here’s the proof:

7 best Bond casting decisions


Sean Connery (James Bond)

Let’s start with the original movie Bond with the man who represents the franchise more than any other. Scottish actor Sean Connery was an inspired choice. James Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, originally doubted his casting, though. “He’s not what I envisioned James Bond to look like”, he said. “I’m looking for Commander Bond – not an overgrown stunt-man…” He also claimed that Connery, a dark-haired 6’2” Scotsman was ‘unrefined’. But Fleming soon changed his mind after watching Dr. No. And we don’t need to tell you why.

Richard Kiel (Jaws)

When you’re holding auditions for a part as peculiar as Jaws, your talent pool is, admittedly, decreased somewhat. After all, how many actors out there are 7ft+?! But by hiring the giant Kiel, an acromegaly sufferer, the producers made an inspired decision and the man remains an iconic figure amongst Bond fans to this day.

Desmond Llewellyn (Q)

Welsh actor Desmond Llewelyn is fondly remembered for his role as gadget guru, Q. He had a quiet authenticity about him that may well have come from his military background. He was a second lieutenant in the British Army who served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers in the Second World War. And in 1940, he was captured by the German Army in Occupied France and was held as a prisoner of war for the remaining five years of the war. An interesting man in real life, Llewellyn suited the fussy, grouchy Q perfectly.

Javier Bardem (Silva)

Fresh from his movie-stealing turn as sadistic bowl cut-haired hitman Anton Chigurh in the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men, there was no other big time actor out there more suited for the role of M’s former protege and all-round camp nutcase, Silva. Just one of Skyfall’s many, many highlights.

Donald Pleasance (Ernst Stavro Blofeld)

The arch-nemesis of Bond, Blofeld was the cat-stroking supervillain head of the shadowy SPECTRE that we’ve all come to know and hate. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service the character was played by Kojak himself, Telly Savalas. Max Von Sydow played him in Never Say Never Again, and Charles Gray in Diamonds are Forever. But It’s Donald Pleasance’s appearance in 1967’s You Only Live Twice that really captured the public’s attention. It’s the Halloween actor who goes down as ‘The Real Blofeld’; no mean feat in light of his high calibre peers.

Dame Judi Dench (M)

Outliving Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, but not quite Daniel Craig’s Bond, veteran actress Dame Judi Dench added a touch of humanity to the franchise and provided 007 with (an admittedly harsh) mother figure in M. And who else could have handled the role and added so much pathos as the Dame herself? Inspired casting.

Christopher Walken (Max Zorin)

There have been plenty of duds when it’s come to Bond bad guys (Jonathan Pryce, we’re looking at you). But truly memorable ones? After Blofeld and Silva, our minds turn to Christopher Walken’s almost demonic Max Zorin in A View To a Kill, a film – Walken apart – that’s otherwise pretty forgettable. The role was originally due to go to David Bowie and then Rutger Hauer, but for our money, the drawling, jerking Walken’s the perfect fit.
Is there a James Bond casting decision you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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