The Actors Who Want to Be The Next James Bond, Ranked

Tom Hiddleston wants to fill 007’s legendary tuxedo. Here’s how he stacks up against other hopefuls.

Tom Hiddleston Highrise

Tom Hiddleston has renewed the Great ‘Who Will Be The Next James Bond When Daniel Craig Retires Even Though He Might Not Be Retiring’ Debate by expressing his interest in taking over the franchise in an interview with The Sunday Times.

Hiddleston, who plays a Bond-like international spy in BBC miniseries The Night Manager, based on John Le Carre’s thriller, said he’d be up for the challenge of becoming the next James Bond, what with its catchy theme music.

“I simply love the theme tune, the tropes and the mythology. I love the whole thing,” Hiddleston told The Sunday Times. “If it ever came knocking, it would be an extraordinary opportunity. And I’m very aware of the physicality of the job. I would not take it lightly.”

But there are a few others actors waiting, in various states of bated breath,  for the same opportunity to knock. Here’s our ranking of the leading contenders for the next 007.

Idris Elba 2
(Photo: Maxim)

1. Idris Elba
We said it before, and we’ll say it again. Elba is oozing with Bond. He’s Bondier than Bond. He will out-Bond your wildest Bond fantasies. This is the guy, and all the objections over his being “too street” are trash. If the guy’s suave enough to be the first man ever to grace Maxim‘s cover, he’s suave enough to fill Bond’s legendary tux.

2. Damien Lewis
Until we saw Billions, we though Lewis was kind of an odd choice to replace Daniel Craig as the next Bond. We were wrong. We completely underestimated Lewis’s baddassery, his ability to be a good guy who’s also a bad guy, and his completely impenetrable poker face.

Tom Hardy  - You wouldn’t know it from this full, slicked-back look but this bulky actor has fine hair. What does Hardy know? Finer hair should be towel-dried thoroughly before slicking back to avoid any separation that could make the hair look thinner than it is. Additionally, low-shine product visually thickens hair. 
(Photo: Getty Images)

3. Tom Hardy
Give me one good reason why this badass crowd-pleaser, the ever-suave Eames of Inception and brooding road warrior in Max Max: Fury Road, couldn’t pull off a smashing 007. You cannot. And Hardy himself agrees: Last year he told The London Evening Standard that he would more than deliver as the lucky seventh Bond. “I would love to do it,” he said. “Who wouldn’t? If I did get the chance, I would smash it out the park.” We know you would, Tom. And that’s the kind of confidence we’re looking for.

4. Henry Cavill
This tall drink of water has come a long way since Superman, which wasn’t that long ago: We’re not sure how he did it, but in a few short years Cavill has transformed into a smoldering leading man type, with a subtle edge. And he’s definitely prepared: Cavill was on GoldenEye and Casino Royale director Martin Campbell’s shortlist to play Bond in 2005, but was edged out by Daniel Craig. Maybe his time has come. 

(Photo: Everett Collection)

5. Hugh Jackman
Superhuman Hugh Jackman has been seen actively campaigning for the role, which is the most un-Bond-like thing about him and we hope he stops, because we don’t need him to tell us he looks great in a tuxedo with a martini in his hand. We know what you’re about, Hugh Jackman: brooding and boozing. Get some chill.

6. Michael Fassbender
Unlike Jackman, Fassbender is a bit too chill on the role (“We’ll see,” he said in a 2015 interview), but his fan base is certainly pushing to see Magneto swap his helmet for a martini. We certainly recognize the appeal and can imagine Fassbender as Bond. At the same time it feels like Fassbender might be better suited to take on a variety of more eccentric roles than commit to leading a franchise, especially given that he (weirdly) doesn’t seem to have a ton of box office sway.

#11 Charlize Theron - When a woman is this mind-bogglingly beautiful, we're more than willing to overlook the fact that she's eerily good at playing a serial killer, an assassin, and now an evil queen in this month's Snow White and the Huntsman.
(Photo: Maxim)

7. Charlize Theron
Yes, yes, we know, Charlize Theron is a lady, and James Bond is a man. Or at least he’s historically been a man. But why can’t Charlize be the next James Bond? We don’t even have to change the name (see: model James King.) Theron has been a serial killer, a personality-disordered seductress, an evil queen, and more recently, a badass motherfucker rebel warrior in Mad Max: Fury Road. She can do anything. Literally, anything. Let’s do this.

8. Tom Hiddleston
Hiddleston is a talented guy, and could likely pull off a winky Bond in the style of Roger Moore, but there’s just too many others who could better take the classic character to the next level — including Charlize. Sorry Tom … better luck never.