The actress is currently searching for the male lead of her spy movie with Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o and Penelope Cruz, and we have some ideas.
We’re not joking. Even without a whisper of news about what characters each of these stars will be playing in the action movie, nor any information about what calibre of spying, nor how much of said spying, will be going on in this film, we already know this is the one movie we will all be talking about this year. Show me the person who isn’t excited for this glamorous, shiny, Chastain-produced espionage flick and I’ll show you a liar.
355 is about to go into production, with a martini budget of $75 million (£58 million) and plenty of car chases. But there’s one thing that’s missing from the movie: a male lead. Chastain has even asked her Twitter followers for help so that she can end the search.
Chastain, we have heard your plaintive cry and we are here for you. In fact, we know exactly who you should cast as your Bond Boy.
Billy Magnussen. This is not a subject that is up for debate. The only person you should be casting in 355 to play the male lead is Billy Magnussen.
Here’s why: canonically, Bond Girls exist to drive the plot forward and provide some eye candy in a bathing suit. Some of the more recent James Bond movies have sought to redress this, but there’s only so much you can unpick the narrative of a character who, in Pierce Brosnan’s The World Is Not Enough, was called Christmas purely so that Bond could make the joke that you’re thinking he would make.
355 is a movie that hopes to flip the script of the action genre thus far and put the women in the arse-kicking, deal-making, world-saving lead roles. The men are just the icing on top of that particularly delicious cake. So you don’t want to cast an actor who would play the male lead on an equal footing with the female stars. You want someone who will play the part as if he is constantly a few steps behind, scrambling to keep up.
That’s where Magnussen, star of The Big Short and Maniac, comes into it. The man is a proper matinee idol, for one thing, someone with more charm than Professor Flitwick. But what’s more, anyone who has seen his winningly naive performance in Game Night knows that he is the Platonic ideal of a Bond Boy. Like the best Hollywood Chris (Pine) in Wonder Woman, Magnussen knows how to support his female co-stars on screen.
On this same note, might we also suggest Sam Heughan? Bond Girls are usually an up-and-coming ingenue, and Heughan is still largely an unknown to anyone who doesn’t watch the time-travelling Scottish melodrama Outlander.
But the enlightened among us know that Heughan, as seen in Outlander’s Jamie, is all about playing second fiddle to a more interesting female character.
And, drawing on that same ingenue thread, Chris Pang from Crazy Rich Asians needs a shoutout here. Pang would make a great Bond Boy. He’s tall, handsome and, as we all saw in Crazy Rich Asians, he’s certainly eye candy in a bathing suit.
There has been some chatter on social media suggesting Chastain cast his co-star Henry Golding as a Bond Boy, but we simply must contest this. Though it makes sense on paper, we’d encourage you to throw all your energy, as we are currently doing, into getting Golding cast not as a Bond Boy but as Bond himself.
But if, for some ungodly reason, you don’t like Magnussen, Heughan or Pang, here are a few more where they came from.
Jake Gyllenhaal, no further explanation needed. Michael B Jordan would certainly be an inspired choice, and we know he already has chemistry with Nyong’o. John Boyega, another charming man well-versed in supporting female heroes, would be perfect. As would Pedro Pascal, who slid right into Chastain’s DMs to “volunteer” himself as willing tribute.
And thus concludes our ode to all the Bond Boys we’ve loved before.
Cast one of them, Chastain. Or cast them all! A veritable buffet of Bond Boys for you, Cotillard, Nyong’o, Cruz and Fan. It’s what you all deserve.