The hunt for the next actor to play James Bond is under way, but it's still 'early days', say long-time 007 producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.
Talking to Variety, the filmmaking duo said casting the next Bond was 'a couple of years off', and they would expect the seventh actor to play to the secret agent on the big screen to commit to the role for at least a decade.
"When we cast Bond, it’s a 10/12-year commitment," Broccoli stated. "So he’s probably thinking, ‘Do I really want that thing? Not everybody wants to do that. It was hard enough getting [Daniel Craig to do it].”
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Daniel Craig was cast to play James Bond in 2005, making his 007 debut the following year in Casino Royale. He made five Bond films in total, finally exiting the role 16 years later in 2021's No Time To Die, making him the longest-serving Bond to date.
Broccoli adds that often actors don't want to make such a lengthy commitment, saying “A lot of people think, ‘Oh yeah, it’d be fun to do one.' Well. That ain’t gonna work.”
When asked about Idris Elba's recent comments distancing himself from the role, Broccoli and Wilson conceded that they hadn't spoken to the 50-year-old Luther star recently, but they understood his sentiments with Broccoli adding 'We love Idris'.
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Talking about reinventing the character for Bond 26, Broccoli says “It’s an evolution. Bond is evolving just as men are evolving. I don’t know who’s evolving at a faster pace.”
"It’s not just about casting an actor for a film. It’s about a reinvention, and ‘Where are we taking it? What do we want to do with the character?’” adds Broccoli. “And then, once we figure that out, who’s the right person for that particular reinvention?"
They also reiterate their commitment to keeping the Bond movies as theatrical experiences in the wake of MGM's recent acquisition by Amazon.
The James Bond movies celebrate their 60th anniversary in 2022 with a series of events planned at the BFI and a concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Sound of 007 in Concert, the official charity concert will take place on 4 October. Original Bond recording artists Dame Shirley Bassey, Lulu, Chrissie Hynde and Garbage will perform iconic 007 songs alongside guest vocalists Becky Hill, Celeste, Ella Eyre, Jamie Cullum, John Grant and Paloma Faith accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Dodd.
Watch: The Queen with James Bond during the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony