The Bond Question

The question of whether or not Richard Armitage would make a good James Bond has come up countless times in the fandom, and it happened again the other day with DEZMOND’S poll. I didn’t vote because I’m conflicted, but I want to go on record as saying that he would make a marvelous James Bond. I’ve never doubted it. The question for me is whether or not he should indeed play Bond. I know I would love whatever he chooses, but from the first time I heard the suggestion of him being Bond, I’ve had my reservations.

The character is fairly one-dimensional. At least he is in all the Bond movies I’ve seen, which is all of them except Daniel Craig’s Bond (need to rectify that in the near future). Maybe Craig has changed things up? Somehow I doubt it, and that’s no aspersion on him. It would take a mega star to change up the Broccoli Machine, and then maybe even that wouldn’t happen because the Broccolis are not going to hire anyone who is going to mess with their cash cow. I’m sure their thinking is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

That’s a good rule of thumb if it’s only about money. If it’s about art, then there’s no such thing. Well, money is still involved, but hopefully it doesn’t dictate everything. Last time I checked, and again, I haven’t seen Craig’s portrayal, Bond was not about art, and certainly not about any real thought. About as deep as Bond usually gets is sexual innuendo via the liberal use of double entendre. I can watch Sean Connery for that ’cause he does it so well, and really, I don’t want to see RA being a Sean Connery retread although I’m sure he could pull off some great stuff.

But let’s say RA did play Bond. What would that mean for his career? I’m inclined to think it would not bode well. All of the actors who have played Bond including Connery have not done much of note. One reason is most of the actors chosen for the part are not the best actors or even close, and I would bet it’s almost an admission that an actor is second tier to be chosen. I could be wrong about that, but my common sense says this is not considered a plum role if someone thinks of himself as a serious actor. I would hate to see RA in that group.

Another reason for my hesitance is Bond is such a larger than life character (bigger than any actor’s portrayal) that the typecasting which comes with it makes accepting the part maybe a bit daunting later, and especially if the actor plays the part really well as Connery did. Is there any doubt RA would play this well? Ohmygosh, just thinking about him being Bond, well, I need to keep this blog safe for work. Suffice to say that PHWOAR! would probably roll off my tongue so often it would be sore.

All of that aside, the only thing that really gets me excited about RA being this character is imagining how he would deal with the back story, and yes, of course some gratuitous shots for objectification edification. Speaking of which, here is a shot that in my opinion screams James Bond:

And just for comparison purposes:

Oh, heck a few more.

When I saw this…

I quite naturally thought of this:

And when I think of this:

It’s easy to think of this:

Definitely need a cool drink, and maybe I need to speak to Hunkess. I could do with a little celebration of masculinity of this historic Hunkie.

That Sean Connery has got to be one of the sexiest ever! The dude is even sexy as a graying, balding man. Phew!


Photos courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com, Public Domain, and my stash.

What woman could resist someone that manly looking and with that beautiful, deep burr? Oh yeah, Connery has ‘it’, and obviously, so does RA. I think I’ve just convinced myself that Richard should NEVER play Bond. He is the only one I’ve ever thought could eclipse Connery. RA doesn’t need that baggage!

Side note: I think it’s a hoot that Ian Fleming based the “sophisticated persona” of Bond on Hoagy Carmichael. I love Hoagy! Love to play Hoagy, and yeah, his music is sophisticated. But his persona? I’m not seeing it. LOL!

Then again, Wikipedia could just be having us on. I’m not a Bond aficionado so I wouldn’t really know, and I don’t have time nor inclination to become one. I’m doing well to write this blog. Better stop now since I feel a strong urge to go on a tangent about Hoagy.

Oh, what the hell!

One of the all-time great songs, and a real pleasure to play as well as hear:

Another one I love to play:

And by the way, I love 7notemode. He is a helluva player, but then this is my kind of music. If you ever think of me playing anything, this would be it! And maybe a little Brubeck and Duke Ellington as well. :D

Oh, and as much as I love 7notemode, I wanted to post Oscar Peterson playing Skylark but couldn’t find it. Oscar is fantastic. If you’ve never heard him, you’re missing out!

37 Comments

  1. Great post :) I’ve seen all the Bond’s and I accept that it’s all for fun and frolic and no deep thoughts, even during the Cold War years.

    I have no problem with RA being Bond, and I think he certainly was born to wear a tux! (Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan also looked good in a tux). I think RA also has the sense of humor to pull it off, like Connery. Always a bit of tongue-in-cheek. I’ve only seen the first Daniel Craig Bond film, and found it a bit too serious, and not in a good way. Though I think he’s a good actor, maybe he looks too much like a boxer to fit the debonair air of a tux. I don’t think RA will need it if The Hobbit is a huge success, but I don’t think it would hurt his career.

    As far as a career move, I would say that Brosnan and Craig, have gone on to make better quality and more serious films. Connery also has always had work after Bond. Brosnan was able to start his own production company, and though all the films may not have been succesful, he at least is able to have more choice in his careers because of Bond. RA is a much better actor than Brosnan or Connery , and I hope that would influence what he’s offered by the movie industry once he becomes better known.

  2. Oh, there’s no question he could pull it off, and yeah, the sense of humor would be wicked. It’s also true the other actors have gone on to do other things and better things, but can you think of anything great? No, RA doesn’t need to be in this group, but then that’s my NSHO. :D

  3. I feel fairly strongly about Bond and RA: why bother? It’s been done to death, it’s tired, the character is one-dimensional, and there are much better roles. (I could never get through a Fleming book). Leave it with the edgy Connery as the icon of Bondness. He was DDG, but yes, RA is the superior actor.

    Sorry, coming on a bit strong here; anyone is welcome to stifle me! :)

  4. @fitzg,

    It won’t be me since you’re preaching to the choir. The last Bond movie I saw bored me silly. I will watch Craig just because well, I’m anal about things, or maybe it’s OCD. :D Wahtever, I want to see them all. But here’s how I’ll do it. I’ll watch Netflix from my couch and while I’m doing something else, like maybe balancing my checkbook.

  5. Daniel Craig is a good actor, but he lacks the smoothness–the–I don’t know–elegance? of some of the other Bonds (Actually, Sir Sean will always be Bond for me. Love him, love him, love him. The first movie I ever saw was Thunderball and I was smitten at age–what? five? As my husband has pointed out, the man just got better looking with age, too) Thank you for the luscious comparisons of the two actors in and out of their clothes, Frenz. *grin*

    Craig looks more like a boxer than a Bond — RA fills out the tuxedo better–although Craig has that bully boy quality of Connery.

    Would RA make a good Bond? Absolutely. He’d make a great one. I’d be salivating from here to kingdom come. And undoubtedly he’d bring something all his own to the role.

    But I think I’d rather he play a really fantastic Bond villain. Not that I want him to be typecast as a villain (or as anything else); I just think he’d make a dandy one. I do enjoy the Bond movies for what they are–sheer popcorn enjoyment. Keep it all in perspective.

    As far as who is the best actor, well, of course–it’s Richard. No argument.

  6. Love the picture comparison. Once again I agree with everyone here except I am selfish enough to want to see RA in EVERYTHING! Yeah, I know it’s ridiculous and unrealistic, but I don’t think I’d get tired of seeing him in practically anything. Except villains, please not a villain. The Lucas dopelganger known as John did me in. I don’t want to hate him! :(

  7. Phylly,

    The issue I had with Spooks was the ridiculous manner in which they transformed a hero into a villain, a flawed but admirable and capable individual into an selfish, murdering, whining man-boy with fluid morals.

    I can handle RA being a villain IF I know from the beginning he’s a villain or at least, there’s a strong possibility of that being the case. If he played a Bond baddie, I would know what to expect.

    I really don’t need for him to always play the good guy, because I know even a villain in his hands will be someone we can feel some empathy for. Remember, he sees the good in the bad, and the bad in the good regarding his characters.

    I felt Lucas had been solidly established as a true hero, flawed and damaged as he was, and to fly in the face of all reason . . . that was unacceptable.

  8. Indeed, Craig is a diamond? in the rough. He has not achieved the mixture of the urbane charm with the danger that Connery did so well.

    I only want to see RA as a gorgeous Gisborne villain! (Pathetic, no?)

  9. @Angie – Yes. I know and agree, and have probably said so … somewhere. But I’m not ready yet for him to be a bad guy. Me want hero!! Me want him to get girl!
    (Have you seen my Tarzan post?) Yep. I said anything!!

  10. Ah, Ladies, you probably don’t have to fear RA playing a Bond baddie. I suspect Craig might be tipped off to watch RH and see what happens when the “bad guy” usurps the hero, and decide to throw a spanner in the works. After all, wouldn’t want the audience falling in love with the villain, would we? NTM Richard would make poor Daniel look like a right troll in comparison . . . LOL

  11. Frankly, the idea of Richard nearly naked except for a teeny loincloth a la the pre-Code Tarzan movies, with his Guy S3 extensions—*imitates Carol Burnett’s Tarzan yell*

    Yep, I’d watch.

  12. Oh, you all can keep going. My imagination is getting quite a work out. Phew! :D

  13. Bond? ::yawn:: (I didn’t vote either.)

    And frankly, I am so over his having to be or being “totty”.

  14. I’m sure he would do a good job whether as Bond or Bond baddie, though clearly he may never have the chance to do either. I watch the Bond movies because I’ve always done, many are a curate’s egg. The last Brosnan one was laughable (in a bad way). My favourite is one that most people loathe, License to Kill with Tim Dalton. Not that TD is particularly my favourite Bond, I just feel it is a more credible movie than most, but then again, Bond is supposed to be fantastical, which is possibly why many people don’t like LtK. I don’t think I have a fave Bond actor though – but clearly that would change if RA was cast!!

  15. BtW – you’re a pianist, Frenz! Me too! Though sadly piano-less at the moment *sob*

  16. I’m sure RA would do a marvellous job as Bond, but … well, the Bond franchise is too one-dimensional and dull. The Craig movies made Bond watchable without cringing and the new Bond has at least a bit more to him than the old ones. I saw Die Another Day because Toby Stephens is in it, and it was an awful film! It felt fake and contrived and just silly. No. I hope RA stays clear of it. On the other hand, with MGM being in financial difficulties, I doubt we’ll be seeing more Bond for quite some time. And good riddance.

    On a side note, Sam Neill did a screen test for the role part in the 80s, but it ended up going to Timothy Dalton instead. Which is perfectly fine. It just didn’t seem to quite suite him, and I think it would be the same for RA. It’s not the sort of part I think he’d go for. There’s nothing really challenging about it, nor is the character interesting enough. Yay for RA having a good taste! :)

  17. I believe RA could make a good Bond but it would be the kiss of death to his international career. He would always be Bond to the world media and find it hard to move on to other types of work which he clearly relishes.

    I don’t see him disappearing into the Hollywood mill after The Hobbit anyway. Like James McAvoy, whose work he admires, he will give it a go and then walk away, just doing films which he fancies. The money is clearly not an issue for him, if anything it is an embarassment and cause of consternation so his motivation for taking work will be interest and stimulation rather than star billing and megabucks

  18. I was raised on Bond films and I think Craig is brilliant. Craig is the Bond of the books. Dark, gritty and dangerous. “The Bond you would not want to meet in a dark alley.” Dalton tried to bring Bond back to that, but audiences weren’t ready for that in the late 1980’s. They are now.

    Being Bond is also not as limiting now as it was to Roger Moore’s career. Brosnan did a couple very critically acclaimed films during the years he was contracted to Bond (The Tailor of Panama, The Matador, etc.) and of course he did the Thomas Crown Affair as well. Craig has started to follow the same pattern (Defiance, Infamous) and of course he has The Golden Compass and the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens and Harrison Ford (Wohoo!).

    And after Layer Cake and Defiance, I would not say Craig is a bad actor.

    So no, Bond is not limiting to anyone career.If you look at his filmography, you will see it really wasn’t to Sean Connery’s either. I mean, I would hardly call Marnie, The Molly MacGuires, The Name of the Rose, The Untouchables, Russia House, and Hunt for Red October, Playing By Heart, and Finding Forrester as “nothing of note” It was just Roger Moore who did not stretch himself while he was playing Bond and sort of gave the role a bad name.

    But as for Armitage playing Bond, no I’m not really interested in seeing that and when asked about he it has repeatedly stated he isn’t really interested either. Playing a Bond baddie, yes. Bond himself? No. I can’t really say why really. I guess because the role is not one that would stretch his dramatic abilities. It’s just that combo doesn’t interest me.

  19. @ Kaprekar The only saving grace of Die Another Day was the brilliant swordfight between Toby Stevens and Pierce Brosnan, which was choreographed by Bob Anderson who served as sword-master on the Princess Bride, The Zorro Films and all the LOTR films (among others). He’s in 89 now, but I am really hoping they get him back for The Hobbit at least in an advisory capacity so that Armitage has a chance to work with probably the greatest western-style sword-master in film.

  20. Sorry, I should have indicated that this part: “I can’t really say why really. I guess because the role is not one that would stretch his dramatic abilities. It’s just that combo doesn’t interest me.” indicated my feelings on the matter, not his.

    I mean I would go see it and probably enjoy it (but then I enjoy the Bond films in and of themselves), but I don’t get excited thinking about Armitage as Bond.

  21. I would be much happier with James Bond than I am with Strike Back. I’m not a big fan of the idea but it is the THE action hero part and as high profile as it gets. And as RA did accept SB I wouldn’t say that he would say no to Bond. He may not be interested in getting rich and famous but Ii think he is very much interested in financial security, which is very sensible, and that may make him accept a big pay-check and say no to a risky and challenging small project. So far I have only seen him making safe choices, no matter what he says in interviews he is interested in. We will see if the Hobbit fame will give him enough freedom to change that.

  22. “Between the Sheets” was a “safe choice?” “Frozen?” “Drowning Not Waving?” He probably is not going to make that much doing “The Rover” on stage compared to his Spooks or Hobbit paychecks.

  23. I would think he would be paid a pittance for working with English Touring Theatre on “The Rover” – they are about getting interesting drama out to the public abd he would slumming it with everybody else on tour. I hope it comes off in 2012 and he has a fantastic time to give him the confidence to take the roles he wants rather than get mangled by the machine. He can do so much more than action hero (not that I object to his macho performances).

  24. Just because he played John Porter, that does not make him completely mercenary in his career choices. RA said he accepted SB because of the opportunity for what he could do with the character and the ambitiousness of the production. Other than “Charlie”, we have no idea what he has been offered and turned down so we do not have the full set of data to determine what factor go into his career choices. And as Charlie is *still* stuck in production hell, his pull out was probably due to, as Mike Ogden said, scheduling not money. In fact on IMDB when someone claimed that Armitage did pull out of that production due to money, Ogden came on the board and resoundingly put that rumor to rest. (And called the rumor monger “a fantasist.” He was quite incensed.)

    I just think trying to anticipate artistic choices based on a single motive (for someone we do not know personally) will not result in very accurate predictions.

    Only his agents know for sure.

  25. Indeed Pam, I feel the same. I kind of think that I what he has been doing all along. While he has done the big productions like Robin Hood and Spooks and Strike Back, he has also continued to hone is craft in smaller dramatic roles (Moving On, Marie Lloyd, Ordeal by Innocence, George Gently, Vicar of Dibley…I can’t imagine he got paid a ton for VoD.) and radio/audio work.

    (And he has repeatedly said that one of the reasons he wants to work in L.A. is because he perceives that the U.S. is taking more risk with drama than British TV.)

  26. At the stage he did BTS or Frozen he was in a position where he was probably happy to accept anything he was offered. The Rover has yet to happen. As soon as he got the chance to do one TV series after the other he did exactly that and virtually nothing else (with the one exception of Moving On). In my very personal opinion he could easily have used the gap between Spooks 8 and 9 to expand his range and do something completely different, stage work or a small film or what about producing his own short film if he is that interested in producing and directing himself? I understand signing a three year contract for RH after his career has not really taken off after N&S and completely understand Spooks as that is still one of the most prestigious shows on British TV but I find it hard to understand SB, especially more than one series.

    I would really, really like to believe that The Hobbit will provide him with the opportunity to pursue his own interests but I would not vouch that he wouldn’t take the route of doing more blockbusters and some of them of questionable quality.

  27. I’m sorry you hate SB so much you don’t see the effort he put into that role. He actually did do some good dramatic work there. The character has a very unique ending to his journey of redemption for the action genre that makes him into a dramatic character.

    Armitage has said, repeatedly, in interviews that he was intrigued with finding the emotional core of John Porter. While he knew that Strike Back was a big action piece, it was the character of John Porter that interested him. He was interested in exploring how does a person take on a job that involves killing while retaining their humanity. He was interested in John Porter for his dramatic potential.

    He has also stated that he was interested in taking part on a production that was on par with the production values of American TV series.

    I would imagine raising his public profile was also a factor in his choice, as well as a good paycheck, but those are not the *only* factors in that choice, as he has said himself.

    And you are ignoring all the other small roles he has between 2006 and now, including all his audio work, which he was probably not as well paid for as he TV work.

    I can’t sit through Clarissa again, but I don’t call him a mercenary just because he played Robert Lovelace.

    As to why he did not do theatre work in those interim: Most plays average a three month commitment. 6 weeks of rehearsals and 6 weeks of performances. That’s an average. Some rep companies can rehearse in four weeks, some productions take three months of rehearsals. Either way, it is big block of time. Trying to seclude that kind of block of time with a theatre company that had a schedule that matched his would have been difficult as opposed to taking on a just role in George Gently or Miss Marple, which would have been a couple weeks of shooting. Or the “small (TV) film” of Marie Lloyd was maybe a month to six weeks. VoD he said was a month of rehearsals leading up to live filming. Audio work, which may have taken a week or two. And of course advertisements which he walks in, reads a script and walks out.

    I mean, look how far out he has had his table reading for The Rover. That is how much time factors into his choices.

    The truth is we can’t say how he makes his career choices, we’re not in his or his agnent’s, head.

  28. I’ll just say this. I have tremendous respect for this man’s talent, his intelligence and his determination to make a success in this difficult and fickle business. It’s easy for us to say “Well, he shouldn’t have taken this role, or why didn’t he take that role . . .”

    We aren’t him, we don’t walk in his big ol’ shoes, we don’t know all the time constraints he may work against, we don’t know what roles he auditioned for and didn’t get, we don’t know how much he’s been paid–there’s just a great deal we don’t know and shouldn’t assume.

    I will watch him in whatever he appears in (at least that I can access; obviously a stage play might be difficult for me as an American) and know he will do a fine job and be worth watching and bring something special and strking to the role.

    As painful as Spooks was (and for me personally, it is no longer a “prestigious show” I can particularly admire, considering what they did to Lucas North’s character and the whole ridic story line), I watched it through because Richard, as usual, was doing the best possible work even in a bad situation.

    As for him avoiding “one-dimensional characters such as Bond,” well, for me, at least, thank goodness he did do Sir Guy and John Porter–who could, in lesser hands, been exactly that, quite one-dimensional. I really don’t care whether or not he does Bond. I am just saying don’t assume he can’t turn dross into gold, because he’s proved to this viewer he can.

  29. What us ironic is John Porter is much more three dimensional than James Bond is.

  30. Yes, as has been pointed out elsewhere, in some ways, the character of Porter is just as complex-perhaps even more so– than John Thornton (please, people, don’t throw anything. I just dropped off nine prescriptions to be filled and my blood pressure is already up without knowing what it’s going to cost me, even with my co-pay . . . so be gentle).

  31. The filmspy James Bond was based on the Dutch resistance hero Peter Tazelaar. This is mentioned in the book The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 by British historian Keith Jeffery.

    Great post by the way and also the comments were very insighfull.

  32. KiplingKat,

    I may have to watch Craig’s Bond sooner than I planned. LOL!

  33. Thanks, Violet, and I agree with you that the comments were very insightful. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts.

    @Kaprekar, yeah, I play. So cool that you do too! Oh, that’s tough to be without a piano!

    BTW, that video of 7notemode is not his best. Here’s a couple that showcase his talent much better:

    I think this sort of fits with the Bond theme. LOL!

  34. Hi Violet,
    I didn’t know about that Dutch Resistance fighter, (and I don’t know who the filmspy Bond was based on) but Ian Fleming was quoted as saying that the Canadian born spy master William Stephenson was certainly an inspiration for his books.
    http://phyllysfaves.blogspot.com/2010/03/i-spy-with-my-little-eye.html

  35. I am fascinated by the possibility of either. Have to check them out!

  36. […] Richard Armitage fans, how many of you would love to see him as Bond? I gave my opinion about that here, and I still feel the same, but I’m open to having my mind changed. :D Share […]

  37. […] I’m not keen on him doing this and have said as much before. But I’m mystified that so many fans are interested in this role which does not seem to fit […]


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