“People love to speculate,” came James Norton’s response, when we asked him about the Bond rumours during our summer issue cover shoot in Cannes. “Bond’s such an icon, and he means so much to so many people, so there’s an inevitable amount of speculation and guessing and betting. But that’s as much as it is — speculation. Very flattering, very humbling speculation.”
“Bond’s such an icon, and he means so much to so many people..."
It came as a blow to the Gentleman’s Journal team. Not only had our interest been piqued by the actor’s odds to take the role (11/4 at the time of going to print), but we also had our hearts collectively set on the Englishman taking up the 007 mantle for other reasons.
From his effortless sense of style to his form in bringing humanity to complex characters, these reasons became evident throughout the interview. So, even though Norton called the rumours “nuts. Absurd. Nonsense. Lovely, lovely nonsense,” and he even admitted that he “didn’t know if [he’d] want to do it,” here are our 5 reasons we think Norton, James Norton should be the next to holster the famous Walther PPK.
He’s got form playing complex, human characters with a violent streak
For anyone who watched McMafia earlier this year, you’ll know that James Norton knows his way around an ethical dilemma — not to mention a trigger. “Unlike some of my other roles, that time I slid along the moral spectrum,” the actor told us. “And that’s the most interesting for me. That’s real. Because we’re all human. We’re all flawed.”
It’s an exciting prospect, to think of Norton sinking a couple of Martinis and then punching his conflicted inner angers out on a henchman or two. His chance to both explore his emotions and brawl was criminally underused in McMafia — and now’s the time to put that right.
He’s used to — and loves — the hectic, globe-trotting lifestyle
You need only take a look at Norton’s Instagram (@jginorton, if you were wondering) to see the actor is no stranger to international travel — just like a certain superspy. Not only that, he also has the uncanny ability to look as at home in a snowscape as on a sandy beach.
“I love travel,” Norton told us. “And I think the day when that ceases to be the case for me will be a sad day,” he says. “I tell myself that the feeling you get when you walk into a hotel room, or take off on a plane — I never want to lose that.”
He’s got the innate style and suave personality down
It might come from Norton’s studies of faith, or perhaps his family (“they ground me”) but the 32-year-old also lacks the devil-may-care attitude of some of the Hollywood A-listers or histrionic stage thesps in the running to be the next 007.
Instead, he seems at once cool and considered, stylish, and extremely comfortable in his own incredibly handsome skin. But that’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy a little of the supercar-driving, designer-wearing, fine dining glitz that goes hand-in-hand with Bond.
“I don’t want to sound overly worthy,” Norton said, “because obviously everybody loves the glitz and the glamour, and I’m not one of those actors who says, ‘I’m not going to go to the party or wear the beautiful clothes because I’m an actor. Where’s the fun in being so principled that you can’t allow yourself to enjoy it?”
He’s got both a classic Bond’s suaveness and Craig’s rough charisma
Despite the fact that some critics took time to warm to Daniel Craig’s more rough-and-ready approach to the role, everyone seems to be in agreement now that a punchier Bond was a good way to go. But that’s not to say we don’t miss the flamboyance and quips of the 007s of old. Which is where Norton comes in.
“I love Daniel Craig and I’d love him to do a couple more films,” Norton revealed. “He’s brought a whole other angle and a humanity to the character – and long may that continue.”
But, with Norton’s more refined look, and higher class accent, we envisage a Bond equal parts Craig and Roger Moore — and what an exciting prospect that is.
He’s the right age to take on the role
Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, although great actors in their own rights, are both already in their forties, which would likely limit the number of films they could produce to a disappointingly Dalton-esque two. Norton, however, at 33, has at least five films in the tank before he gets Daniel Craig’s ‘wrist-slitting’ fatigue.
“As an actor, all you want to do is to transform,” said Norton of his career. “You don’t want to only play versions of yourself, because then it gets boring, you stop learning. So what type of role do I want to play next? It’s hard to say, because human beings are so hard to categorise. They’re so ineffable, aren’t they? I’d find it hard to say…”
James Norton covered the Gentleman’s Journal Jul/Aug 2018 issue. Subscribe here…