By Melissa Romualdi.

This year, the search for Daniel Craig’s James Bond replacement will begin and, while rumours about a younger 007 were previously squashed by franchise producer Michael G. Wilson, longtime casting director, Debbie McWilliams, is further elaborating, explaining why young actors typically don’t fit the iconic role as opposed to those in their thirties.

“When we started, it was a slightly different feel,” McWilliams told Radio Times in a new interview about the last search for a new James Bond, which ended in Craig’s casting. “We did look at a lot of younger actors, and I just don’t think they had the gravitas. They didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the mental capacity to take it on, because it’s not just the part they’re taking on, it’s a massive responsibility.”

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“So we kind of scrubbed that idea and went back to the drawing board and started again,” she added.

The team eventually chose Craig as the new 007, who was in his thirties when he began his run as the titular secret agent in 2006’s “Casino Royale”. However, the reaction to his casting was “unbelievably negative,” as McWilliams previously admitted back in 2021, partly because “he wasn’t a hugely well-known actor.”

“The press response was awful and I felt so sorry for him,” she said at the time, “but in a funny kind of a way I think it almost spurred him on to do his damndest to prove everybody wrong.”

In her recent interview with Radio Times, McWilliams went on to note that when most James Bond actors are cast, they are relatively unknown on a mainstream film level.

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“Timothy Dalton was known, but he was known as a Shakespearean actor, really,” McWilliams pointed out. “Pierce [Brosnan] was known, but that was basically from television. Roger Moore was known from television. Sean Connery [the first actor to portray James Bond back in 1962] wasn’t [known] – nobody had ever heard of him. A certain audience had heard of Daniel Craig, but much more the kind of independent cinema audience. He hadn’t done any huge commercial film at all, really – ‘Layer Cake’ [2004 film] I suppose was the most popular, should we say, of the things he had done prior to Bond, but he wasn’t a hugely well-known actor.”

Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Casino Royale” – 2006.
Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Casino Royale” – 2006.
— Photo: Eon/Danjaq/Sony/Kobal/Shutterstock

Craig, who inherited the role of agent 007 after Brosnan, went on to star in five James Bond films, exiting the franchise following 2021’s “No Time to Die”. Over the last year, producers Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have said on numerous occasions that the team will begin searching for Craig’s replacement sometime this year.

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“When people go, ‘Oh, who are you going to get?’ it’s not just about casting an actor for a film,” Broccoli told Variety last August. “It’s about a reinvention, and ‘Where are we taking it? What do we want to do with the character?’ And then, once we figure that out, who’s the right person for that particular reinvention?”

Given everything that the James Bond team has said up until now, fans can expect the “right person” for the new 007 to be a relatively unknown thirty-something-year-old actor.

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