Tom Hardy is your next 007. Discuss. Or don’t. You — along with everyone else who’s ever seen a Bond film —probably have an opinion on Hardy as the next incarnation of James Bond. We know we do. But we’re keeping our opinions to ourselves — and we suggest you do the same.
As of today, betting has been suspended on the 43-year-old Londoner taking the wheel of Daniel Craig’s Aston Martin. His odds have been slashed from 6/1 to 1/1 and Hardy fever is gripping 007 fan sites from mi6-hq.com to commanderbond.net. But we don’t care what people are saying. We just want to know the truth — is Tom Hardy actually going to be the 007th actor to play the superspy?
Because we’re not sure. As you’ll likely know, last weekend a blog post reported that Tom Hardy had been surreptitiously cast as Daniel Craig’s successor. The purported scoop was then snatched up by the red-tops, and people set about mocking up movie posters before you could say ‘unsubstantiated’. Many were up in arms about the casting; some couldn’t be happier. But few questioned the announcement.
Only a handful of people stopped to wonder whether, as this hadn’t come from Hardy himself, or the folks behind the Bond films, or even a trusted news publication, whether they should take it all with a massive fistful of salt. So, before we get ahead of ourselves — and news of Hardy’s ‘casting’ eclipses No Time To Die — let’s ask, is Tom Hardy actually the next James Bond?
When did the Tom Hardy rumour start?
That’s a tough one. It’s almost a rite of passage for young British actors to be touted as potential Bonds by the public. If you fit the physical template, you could be the most obscure bit-part player and you’ll still find yourself floated as double-o material. And so it was for Tom Hardy. Ironically, the fan-casters first started Hardy’s Bond buzz when he popped up as the slick ‘Clarkie’ in 2004’s Layer Cake — the film that served as Craig’s unofficial audition for the role.
Ever since, the spectre of the superspy has followed Hardy around, haunting him in earnest after a suave turn in Christopher Nolan’s 2010 Inception and even more notably after espionage-tinged turns in both Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) and comedy spy caper This Means War (2012). But Hardy has never addressed the rumours directly. In a 2017 interview with The Daily Beast, he had this to say:
“You know, there’s a saying amongst us in the fraternity of acting, and in the fellowship of my peer group that, if you talk about it, you’re automatically out of the race. So I can’t possibly comment on that one. If I mention it, it’s gone…”
It certainly sounds like he wants it — or wanted it then, at least. The rumour gained weight in 2018, when ex-Bond Pierce Brosnan plumped for Hardy as his pick for the part. In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Brosnan said: “I think Tom Hardy could be a good Bond. I’d be happy to see him do it.”
So when did *this* Tom Hardy rumour start?
But we’re not here to talk about fan-casts or Pierce Brosnan. This latest rumour — uncorroborated fuel on the Hardy-Bond bonfire — came from a Star Trek blog. Not only that, a Star Trek blog that only published its first post one month ago, on August 16th.
It’s called The Vulcan Reporter, and is run by a science fiction fan named Emre Kaya — a former writer for The Cinema Spot and Geeks Worldwide. He’s also penned every single post published on the site, most of which concern release dates and production schedules for various film and television projects in the Star Trek universe. A pivot to a Bond news sticks out sorely — especially given Kaya’s explicit and unambiguous headline of: ‘Tom Hardy Cast As 007th James Bond’.
The article that follows the headline gives no source for this information, with Kaya instead asking readers to simply trust him and understand that he is “not the type to just take a popular fancast and run with it as a scoop”. Should we trust him? Feel free to — but when better-connected writers at global outlets such as Variety or The Hollywood Reporter haven’t heard a whisper of the same news, we wouldn’t advise it.
At the risk of speculating ourselves, it would appear that Kaya’s claim is simply a bid to increase the readership of his blog — a big, splashy story to bring clicks and get people talking. And, whether his scoop stands up or not, it’s certainly done that. We know we’d never heard of The Vulcan Reporter this time last week…
But could Tom Hardy actually be the next James Bond?
Of course he could. In fact, when we rounded up the six actors most likely to next holster up Bond’s Walter PPK, Hardy was one of them. He’d follow in the rougher, readier vein of Craig’s Bond. He’s over five inches shorter than the average Bond, but then so is Craig (Hardy is 5’9”, Craig is 5’10”). And, as well as proving he can pull off a sharp suit in Kray Twins biopic Legend, he’s also a fan favourite for the role.
But he’s far from a sure thing — and there are plenty of factors that suggest Hardy won’t ever be Bond. Age, for one. By the time Hardy’s first Bond film would be released, he’d be around the age Daniel Craig was when he was filming Spectre — the fourth out of his five films. Hardy is also incredibly well-known. With the franchise being such a commitment, Eon Productions tend to look for less-established players to take the mantle of Bond. Hardy is not that. In fact, he’s Oscar-nominated.
For the next 007, we’d put our money on younger, taller, less famous men — James Norton and Richard Madden, for example. Hardy has it in him, of that we have no doubt, but we’re not sure that he ticks the boxes of producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
And that’s before we get to the timing of it all. There’s no way Eon would even begin formal auditions until Craig’s final film is released. And, with lockdown keeping everyone isolated, how would they? Even if Hardy had won the role of a lifetime over Zoom this summer, announcing him as the new Bond before No Time To Die hits cinemas would pull focus from Craig’s swansong disastrously.
The new Bond, whoever he may be, will not be revealed officially in “Early 2021”, as Emre Kaya believes. He will be announced in a year or two at a press conference in London, like Craig was, like Brosnan was — like Roger Moore was.
So no, Tom Hardy is not the new James Bond. He’s not not the new James Bond either — but his casting remains a rumour for now. It may disappoint you, but that’s the truth — and why Hardy or Eon haven’t as much as commented on the ‘leak’. But don’t despair! If you’re looking for some solid, reliable news, we can reveal that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is beginning back-to-back production on its first two seasons in January 2021. So at least there’s that…