As Speculation Mounts About the Next Bond, Actors React to Casting Rumors in Various Ways

LONDON — Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the latest actor reportedly offered a license to kill and succeed Daniel Craig as the new James Bond.

James Bond-Speculation

This combination of photos shows actor Daniel Craig as James Bond in a scene from ‘No Time To Die,’ left, and actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson at the Giorgio Armani women’s Fall-Winter 2024-25 collection in Milan, Italy, on Feb. 25

The “Kick-Ass” star is no stranger to action movies and at 33 is a good age to join the franchise, as producers likely want a 10 year commitment to the role.

Since Craig announced that he was hanging up his tuxedo after five outings as 007 — the last being “No Time to Die” in 2021 — there has been frenzied speculation over which actor will take the coveted role.

Bond producers have not commented on the Taylor-Johnson rumors.

Speculating about the next Bond is a frequent subject (sometimes even before the job is available), leading British actors to adopt various strategies and responses when the topic comes up.

5 Things to Know About Aaron Taylor Johnson

One of the foremost names in the frame over the past few years has been Idris Elba, though producer Barbara Broccoli said in 2022 that the “Luther” star had ruled himself out.

“He apparently has said he’s out,” she told The Associated Press. “We love Idris and he’s been a wonderful friend and we love him as an actor. But I think he feels like a, you know, 10- or 12-year commitment or 15-year commitment might be a bit too much for him.”

“You know, it’s a rumor that’s stuck with me,” Elba said in 2023. “I think I’m the most famous ‘Bond’ actor that never actually played the part. So, what can I say? I’ll take that.”

Elba has high profile fans including Matt Damon. “I think he’s brilliant. I’ll watch him in anything and he makes everything he’s in better and he would make that franchise better.”

james bond wearing a black suit

“Inception” and “Dunkirk” star Tom Hardy was touted as the next Bond back in 2015, though he claimed to have “heard nothing” about press speculation.

“I think answering something like that means immediately you’re out of the running. So there goes my spot,” he joked.

Luke Evans, who has starred in a wide variety of movies and TV series from “The Hobbit” to “Beauty and the Beast” to “Nine Perfect Strangers,” felt his dream of playing Bond has slipped away.

“By the time they cast it again, I’ll be too old,” the 44-year-old actor told The Associated Press in 2022.

Richard Madden brushed off rumors about his involvement in Bond at a press conference for “Rocket Man” in Cannes back in 2019.

“It’s very flattering to be involved in that conversation at all. But it’s all just talk and I’m sure next week you’ll be someone different,” he laughed.

Other names connected with the role in recent years include Regé-Jean Page, who shot to fame in “Bridgerton” as the Duke of Hastings, Theo James, who earned an Emmy nomination for his role in “The White Lotus,” and Henry Golding, star of “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Every time Golding has appeared on a red carpet wearing a tuxedo, rumors swirl about him being the next 007, but he remains tight-lipped.

“It’s a cultural icon. That’s all I can say,” he smiled.

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