In 2021, after playing the world’s most famous spy in five movies, Daniel Craig’s James Bond was killed off in “No Time To Die,” leading to a flurry of rumors about his replacement. Hollywood insiders have speculated that the new Bond will be announced this spring, as producer Barbara Broccoli stated last year that she was looking for a younger actor who could remain with the franchise for 10-12 years. Even Tom Hanks had an opinion about this. According to a Bond insider who spoke to Page Six,
“It’s a really long process. Barbara does see everyone personally…They all have to put on the tuxedo and audition at Pinewood [the Bond UK studios].”
Over the past few years, potential replacements have included Richard Madden, Tom Hardy, and fan-favorite Idris Elba. However, the current frontrunner for the role is British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who has already met with Broccoli and is believed to have had a screen test in September 2022. Bookmakers now list Taylor-Johnson as the favorite to take on the role.
One insider noted that Ian Fleming, the author who created James Bond, was notoriously anti-Semitic, and the character of Auric Goldfinger, a villain obsessed with gold and power, reflects anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. Fleming named the character after his real-life neighbor, Erno Goldfinger, a Hungarian Jewish architect who moved to London in 1934, and the two had a contentious relationship. As such, it would be particularly apt to cast Taylor-Johnson, who is Jewish, as the first Jewish 007.
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are set to write the next Bond film, as they have written the past few movies. Broccoli stated that “there isn’t a script, and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is, and that takes time. I’d say that filming is at least two years away.” Meanwhile, rumors about who will play the iconic spy continue to circulate, complete with stunt-betting odds from William Hill.
Taylor-Johnson, 32, has already won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor for his role as a smooth-talking murderer in the 2016 thriller “Nocturnal Animals.” He also played Count Vronsky in 2012’s “Anna Karenina” alongside Keira Knightley and starred in the “Kick-Ass” series and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
In December 2022, it was reported that he had shot scenes as Bond, including the memorable “gun barrel teaser footage” frequently featured in the 007 franchise. Taylor-Johnson is handsome and armed with a sense of humor, reminiscent of one of the all-time best Bonds, the late Sean Connery. In 2022, he modeled for a Calvin Klein underwear ad, showing off his newly buff physique and proving that he is in shape for the role.
Taylor-Johnson married artist and director Sam Taylor-Johnson in 2012 when he was just 21 years old. The couple, who combined their surnames, have two daughters and renewed their vows last June. In an interview with The Telegraph, Taylor-Johnson revealed that he knew instantly that he had found his soulmate in Sam, saying,
“I knew instantly that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this person. I remember it very well, and a year to the day [after] I met her, I proposed. I knew I wanted a family with her, I knew I wanted kids, and a month later she was pregnant with our first child…”