Will Aaron Taylor Johnson Be the Next James Bond?

The internet lit up last week over rumors that Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 33, might be the new James Bond. The next contender to play 007 has long been a source of conversation for the British media — chatter that started well before Daniel Craig even announced he was leaving the role in 2019. The frenzy for armchair casting has meant that virtually every British actor between the ages of 20 and 45 — including Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston, James Norton, Regé-Jean Page and Idris Elba — has been bandied about as a possibility. But rumors that Mr. Taylor-Johnson had been “formally offered” the role seem more pervasive than most.

Would Mr. Taylor-Johnson be an inspired choice? He ticks at least two criteria present in previous Bonds: He’s a man, and he’s got a British accent.

An English actor and star of movies like “Kick-Ass,” “Nocturnal Animals” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Mr. Taylor-Johnson has also received public backing from former Bonds including Pierce Brosnan, who is Irish, and George Lazenby, who is Australian.

In advance of the official casting announcement, members of the Styles desk discussed who might inherit the most famous tuxedo in cinema.


Vanessa Friedman I think it’s time for Bond to be shaken-up (not stirred). I cast my vote for either Dev Patel or Regé-Jean Page. Some diversity would help bring Bond into the semi-modern era.

Elizabeth Paton There was an enormous amount of pearl clutching when Mr. Craig was cast because he was — gasp — blond! That was the extent of the diversity conversation in the early 2000s.

Guy Trebay James Blond.

EP Would Dev Patel take it? Some actors see Bond as a poisoned chalice because it can prove challenging to get cast or recognized for roles beyond that one.

GT There are worse fates than typecasting. Daniel Craig has been successful with counter casting since Bond.

VF Given the explosion of superhero movies, it’s less of an issue than it used to be. Now booking one of these blockbusters is kind of a badge of honor.

EP Idris Elba has confirmed he is not interested in the role. He would have been fabulous. While Regé-Jean Page can be charming as he was in Bridgerton, I wonder how ruthless he might look holding an assault rifle? I’ve also heard Henry Golding being bandied around.

VF There’s room for a silky-smooth Bond. Page and Golding seem more in the Pierce Brosnan Bond lineage than the Connery/Craig one. Still, I think Dev Patel’s acting chops are already established, so he could really have fun with the role. I would also love to see a lady Bond, but that might be a Bond too far.

GT Ruth Wilson, ahem. Or, more commercially, Jennifer Lawrence, in full “Red Sparrow” mode.

EP I would be surprised if Barbara Broccoli opted for conventionally good looking, established stars like James Norton, Tom Hardy or Jamie Dornan this time around. Then again, Aaron Taylor-Johnson teeters on the edge of that (when people get past his slightly unconventional but very long standing marriage). He’s famous, but not too famous, and as a white Englishman about the safest imaginable option. Though he does have a chameleonic quality to his work.

VF With the release of “The Fall Guy,” with Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, his name recognition will go way up. But he would be more like James Bond Jr. — or James’s long-lost cousin who has been on missionary duty in a foreign land and picked up all sorts of interesting martial arts techniques along the way. Bond is such a comfortable old franchise, it could use an injection of surprise for the next stage.

GT Much as I could watch any of the early Bond movies again (and again and again) I’m more than ready for a switch up in the formula.

EP To that point, I think that’s why (spoiler alert!) Mr. Craig’s Bond died in the last movie — to make way for a truly new incarnation. So many people remain invested in this casting choice though. Do many other major movie heroes get the same amount of interest?

VF Superman and Batman get taken very seriously. Just ask Ben Affleck.

GT Bond is a cartoon of masculinity and always was. Since we live in an era of camp cartoon franchises, what we can be sure of is that whoever is cast will have a Ralph Fiennes accent and a “Magic Mike” physique.

VF C’mon guys, who is your fantasy choice?

EP I don’t have a front-runner. I had my heart set on Idris.

GT I’d like to hear who Tom Ford would cast. His costuming of Daniel Craig was instrumental in resuscitating the franchise.

VF Maybe he could even direct one! Now, that I would like to see.

EP Dev Patel directed by Tom Ford. Is that our winning combo?

GT With Ford himself doing a cameo as “M.”

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