For a long time now, the role of James Bond has remained a sacred casting reserved for a small group of white male actors. As we’ve seen more and more diversity on-screen in other areas of the film and TV industries, the casting of James Bond – who has long been seen as a cornerstone of British culture – has continued to stay the same.
That’s why, when we heard that a black, female actor could be taking on the role of 007 in the next bond film, we were pretty damn excited. Lashana Lynch, who has recently appeared in Captain Marvel, is set to take on the role of 007 in 2020, as James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) retires from service.
She’s not technically a “female James Bond” – the character of James Bond is set to slip quietly into retirement – but she’s still a female actor stepping into a leading role in one of the most iconic film franchises of all time (with a script spruced-up by Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, no less), and that’s a pretty big deal.
The conversation about a female James Bond is certainly nothing new, but the casting of Lashana Lynch hasn’t seen the end of the hypothetical conversation. Now that the “rules” have been broken, there’s no limit to the different kinds of actors who could take on the role.
Emilia Clarke became the latest actor to throw her hat into the ring in a recent interview with Empire Magazine, saying she would love to step into Bond’s iconic persona.
“Yeah! Of Course! Hell to the yeah!” she said. “James Bond is one of those franchises where it’s never not cool. You could literally make the naffest James Bond in the world and it would still be cool.”
This isn’t the first time Clarke has put herself forward for the role. In 2016, way before rumours of Lynch’s casting began to circulate, she spoke to The Daily Star about taking on the part: “I have a lot of unrealised dreams. I would love to play Jane Bond,” she said, alluding to a female version of the spy.
“My ultimate leading man would be Leonardo DiCaprio,” she added. “No doubt about it.”
Speaking to James Corden on The Late, Late Show in 2017, Priyanka Chopra addressed rumours that she wanted to be a Bond girl by announcing her intention to play the actual agent.
“I’ve always said I would prefer to play Bond,” she said. “I think I hope, in my lifetime, I get to see such iconic parts be played by women in a genderless [way] – even if it’s not me.”
“I am trying to be James Bond, that’s the point,” she said. “Everyone’s saying I’m meant to be a Bond Girl but I’m like, ‘no – I’m working on the James Bond aspect first’. I wouldn’t mind being a Bond Girl, but I’m going for James.”
Way back in 2016, Gillian Anderson shared a piece of fan art that depicted her as a female James Bond, and seemed pretty obsessed with it.
“It’s Bond. Jane Bond,” she wrote. “Thanks for all the votes! (And sorry, don’t know who made poster but I love it!)”
Doctor Who star Pearl Mackie said she’d be up for a turn as 007 during a 2017 interview with Radio Times.
“I’d quite like to play James Bond,” she said. “I just thought of that earlier.”
Asked whether she wanted to play a female version of the character – the ‘Jane Bond’ persona often talked about when it comes to casting a woman as Bond – Mackie was clear she wanted the full Bond treatment. “Nah, nah, James,” she said. “If I can be called Bill, I can be called James!”
“You start off as the Bond girl and then you think it’s just the girlfriend and then you’re like, ‘she’s actually [Bond]’,” she imagined.
Nicholas Hoult also suggested Stewart should play Bond, responding to rumours that he could be taking on the part.
“We’ll walk into the screen test and I’ll see you there dressed in a tuxedo,” he said, with Stewart playing along. “I’ll be like, ‘Kristen, what are you doing here?’ I’ll just turn around and walk straight back out.”
Speaking in a 2016 Entertainment Weekly roundtable alongside fellow actors Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, Elizabeth Banks said James Bond was one of the roles she’d love to portray on screen.
“I would like to be James Bond,” she said, adding that she wouldn’t want to play a ‘Jamie’ or ‘Jane Bond’ character. “Why you gotta change it?” she asked.