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Will a Female Play James Bond After Daniel Craig?

| October 6, 2019 10:30 am PDT
Which Actress Could Play James Bond

With the 2019 Emmy Awards now a thing of the past, fans of entertainment and novelty betting can move onto the next big thing. As things stand, that’s the arrival of the Joker movie in early October, not to mention the Breaking Bad movie, El Camino.

I thought September was a great month for betting on the entertainment industry, but October and future months are shaping up to be just as fun.

It turns out we can keep looking further down the road as far as our wagers go, too. I recently referenced a James Bond prop bet that dealt with pondering if the next James Bond could/would be a female.

There have been public arguments both ways, but I suggested it would be a refreshing take. There also is no shortage of viable, deserving leading women who could take over the iconic secret agent role without skipping a beat.

First, let’s take a look at the actual prop. Then we’ll dive into some actresses that have a legit claim to the James Bond throne.

James Bond Odds – Will a Woman Play the Role?

Daniel Craig is still installed as the present James Bond, but everyone knows by now that the clock is ticking on that. Craig isn’t long for the role, and eventually, the studios will be looking to make a change.

Could that see them giving into the public’s fascination with a female James Bond?

There is an argument that it should. Michelle Williams delivered a riveting acceptance speech during the Emmys on equality in the industry, and that could set the tone for very important discussions.

On top of women being as deserving as men when it comes to pay, they’re also just as qualified and suited for marquee roles.

The right actor (I still don’t understand why this is split by sex into actor/actress) should get the role, regardless of sex, and this debate (and prop bet) over whether or not the James Bond franchise could pivot to a female lead could be a passing of the torch in a whole different way.

I’m here for it, and I’m sure a lot of James Bond fans are as well.

Whether it actually happens or not, of course, is the real question. Top entertainment betting websites like Bovada wonder along with you, handing out the present pricing for either side,

Yes-180
No+140

This is basically a 50/50 split. There has definitely been encouraging support for this to happen, with former Bond star Pierce Brosnan vouching for a female lead in the hit franchise.

There’s also been some negative backlash at the mere thought of a female James Bond.

The reality is the franchise has already dipped its toe in this idea, handing new star Lashana Lynch the iconic “007” code name. How that plays out remains to be seen, and it’s entirely possible we’re already seeing Craig’s successor in some shape or form.

Either way, the James Bond franchise isn’t scared of ruffling feathers or thinking outside the box. Lynch playing a new role doesn’t tell us anything is changing in a major way, but it may be suggesting that it could (and should).

Top Contenders to Play Female James Bond

Before we dive into whether or not this will actually happen, let’s take a gander at some worthy talents that could vie for the role.

I touched on this wager when I broke down the best entertainment prop bets the month of September had to offer, and I offered some of my favorite options. The list wasn’t short, but it could have been so much longer.

After much thought, I’ve cut it down to eight female leads I feel completely embody who James Bond (or Jane Bond) really is. First, let’s run through some criteria an actress would need to be up for this role (according to me).

  • Attractive
  • Confident
  • Strong and/or athletic
  • Actually good at acting
  • Ideally former action experience
  • Leading role experience and/or ability
  • Witty and humorous

If they can gamble like James Bond, too, then all the better.

No, I’m not of the belief that a female James Bond has to be “hot” or whatever, but there probably should be some level of attraction there. The studios would undoubtedly desire a good-looking female star to carry the franchise, while the character itself would benefit greatly from being able to charm their way through some jams.

Not all of the male actors were attractive by traditional standards, though. If someone can meet all the other criteria above and crush the role, I’m personally very open to that. Then again, looks are forever subjective.

Regardless, it’s pretty unlikely Hollywood would be looking for a female lead that for whatever reason would drive viewers away. Whether by personality or looks, they’d need to be someone people wanted to see.

I think confidence, swagger, and overall personality plays into that attractiveness. Intelligence is right up there, too. Any actress that has the ability to play a challenging role and comes off as a strong individual is going to have a realistic shot here.

Where things start getting dicey for me is when you talk about which actresses can handle such a high-profile gig that is physically demanding. Most people in Hollywood are attractive and have confidence, but not everyone can handle a feature role on this level, they aren’t all built for a high-octane action franchise, and some are not even good actors.

Gina Carano is a great example. Throw in Ronda Rousey, too.

They’re attractive, strong, confident, and have experience in these types of films. But they’re not great acting talents and would be massive misses in a role that is half action but half cerebral, too.

On top of that, the female James Bond would ideally have some action movie experience and also bring some sharp wit to the table. James Bond is smart, witty, good-looking, and he’s a secret agent, so he can kill people with weapons or his hands.

And he does all of it while looking like a total badass.

There are plenty of actresses who are capable of doing it just the same — if not better. Here are my favorite picks to play the female James Bond.

Charlize Theron

Let’s start this off with Theron, who is extremely battle-tested in the action movie genre. Not only has she displayed endless range and the ability to transform herself physically and mentally, but she specifically crushed a very similar role in Atomic Blonde.

Are you not entertained?

But seriously, holy crap. Theron’s toughness, movement, reaction timing — everything — is positively exceptional here. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. I want her in all of the secret agent movies ever, for all of the days.

The lone hiccup here is that Theron was so good in this role (which was basically a female James Bond) that casting her as the next James Bond would almost feel repetitive. Her hard work paid off already, too, as Atomic Blonde 2 is already in the works.

I can see the argument against Theron, but it’s paper thin. She’s gorgeous, extremely strong, has action film experience, and is fundamentally one of the best acting talents on the planet.

She probably wouldn’t get the nod due to the reason I said, but I’m not sure there’s a better pick out there.

Emily Blunt

My runner-up has to be Emily Blunt. Blunt is beautiful, hilarious, and has never backed down from challenging roles. Her confidence and convincing action-packed performance in Edge of Tomorrow puts her on the map here, while her dramatic edge and intensity can be seen in Sicario and A Quiet Place.

I don’t have being British as part of the criteria here, but if you personally think the new actor has to be, then she wins in that category. Blunt has as much natural talent as anyone, and her range is virtually untouchable among her female counterparts.

The main selling point for Blunt is her strength in moments of weakness. That emotional transparency and resolve have been evident in numerous roles, which could allow her to give the James Bond character its most human take yet.

Tatiana Maslany

You want some range? Then let’s toss Tatiana Maslany’s hat into the ring. Forever underrated despite playing numerous roles on Orphan Black, Maslany has exhibited insane versatility, emotional depth, and the ability to kick some serious butt.

The crazy thing is Orphan Black eventually gets a little tired and predictable. But you keep coming back for Maslany, who has to make things believable as an endless string of very different clones of herself.

I’ll admit I can’t know what Maslany looks and feels like in the James Bond role, but if her work on Orphan Black tells us anything, it’s that she’s a chameleon that can adapt to basically any situation (or character).

Maslany has the looks, the swagger, and the talent to nail this role. The main question may end up being if she’s big enough of a star to get the nod.

Angelina Jolie

Jolie would certainly qualify as a huge star that could fill the James Bond shoes. The 44-year-old actress has more experience playing this type of role than anyone on this list, as evidenced by impressive runs in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Salt, and Taking Lives.

Age could be a factor against Jolie, while there could also be a question of interest. Jolie is still as beautiful as ever, but she’s been trending more towards nuanced roles. Is she game for such a high-profile franchise at this stage in her career? That’s probably the big question.

Talent isn’t, nor is experience.

Jolie is as powerful an actress as there is, while she’s had numerous roles that align with a secret agent’s job description. Sultry, athletic, experienced, and bursting with confidence, Jolie could be argued as the perfect woman to take over the James Bond franchise.

I’m just not totally sure she’d want to.

Zazie Beetz

The James Bond franchise has already done a good job of two things: featuring their female characters a bit more and also finally giving a big role to an African American.

There are so many fantastic African American actors and actresses that deserve featured roles, and the eclectic Zazie Beetz is one of them. In fact, after showing off her endless range over the past few years, you could argue that she’s the top option out there.

Beetz flexed her action star muscle as Domino in Deadpool 2, but she was also a professional scene-stealer in hit FX show Atlanta. From there, she played an underrated supporting role in instant hit Joker.

Gorgeous, hilarious, tough, and loaded with star power, Beetz is on the verge of a major blow-up in Hollywood. Why shouldn’t it come via the iconic James Bond franchise?

Claire Foy

Foy is known best for her elegant work in The Crown, while she also delivers an underrated supporting performance in First Man. But if you missed her in a remake of The Girl in the Spider’s Web, do yourself a favor and check her out.

The movie itself slightly misses the mark, but Foy is convincing as the ever-daring computer hacker-turned-detective, Lisbeth Salander.

Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara both made this role famous first, but Foy announces her presence among the top female action stars. Foy’s take is actually a lot more human than the previous two renditions, too, as she adds an emotional layer not yet seen in the Salander universe.

Does Foy look like some menacing secret agent? No, and that may be the biggest obstacle here. But she’s more than qualified from an action, experience, and personality perspective.

I won’t dive into Rapace and Mara, but they’re right up there with Foy.

Both crushed the Lisbeth Salander role and made you wonder what else they’re capable of. Mara may have a little more natural talent, but Rapace is a full-fledged action superstar.

I love all three of these women as options to play a female James Bond, but the one standing out of the trio has to be Foy due to superior articulation.

Gal Gadot

She’s falling low on my list, but I’m not actively ranking the women that should be considered to take on the James Bond role. If I were, Gal Gadot would undoubtedly be near the top.

Few actresses are as elegant and as beautiful as Gadot, while she also took on the burden of being one of the first major female comic book heroes to take things to a whole new level.

Gadot looked the part when her role as Wonder Woman was teased in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film, but she took true ownership of that same role in the official Wonder Woman feature film.

I’ll admit the film itself was laughable in parts, but Gadot was completely convincing, both as someone being thrust into uncharted waters and a hero rising to savior status.

This wasn’t Gadot’s first rodeo, though. We’ve seen her flash her star power as a member of the Fast & Furious franchise, while she also showed off her secret agent chops (and humor) in Keeping Up with the Joneses.

Gadot can do it all, and she looks the part of a sophisticated, detailed secret agent. Assuming taking on James Bond wouldn’t mess with the mojo of her role in the DC universe, she’s as perfect as anyone for this character.

Zoe Saldana

Last, but certainly not least, we have Zoe Saldana.

This is another extremely qualified actress that hands you all of the criteria you’d be looking for. Saldana is obviously as beautiful as any actress in Hollywood, while she has recent experience in major blockbuster films with a key role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Long before taking on the role of Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, though, Saldana was impressing in Avatar and Star Trek. That isn’t even where she was at her best, however, as she may have delivered her most memorable performance in the riveting Colombiana.

Saldana even flashed this edgy, action star persona previously in The Losers, but Colombiana showcased her star power as a cold-blooded assassin out for revenge.

Newsflash: she gets her revenge.

It’s easy to get swept up in revenge flicks, but Saldana keeps you dialed in with an emotionally charged take, while not forgetting to wow you along the way.

I don’t mean to get lost in one great assassin role, though. That movie just shows how effortlessly Saldana could transition to playing a secret agent. Everything else she’s done has only furthered the narrative that she’s fully qualified to do just about anything she desires.

Will the Next James Bond Be a Woman?

It is a lot of fun to imagine which actors or actresses will play new roles, especially when they’re iconic like James Bond. I get why it’s a tough process for Hollywood, of course.

That’s no different when trying to predict who will be the next James Bond. My latest attempt had me settled on Tom Hardy, but the buzz about a female lead has me changing course.

This is one obvious example as to why casting cannot be easy, as you obviously need to think about marketability and how to sell the movie. Hardy would put people in the seats, but it’s not as easy as picking the one actor everyone seems to love.

Beyond that, you need to make sure they actually want to do it, are completely qualified to crush the role, and also will be somewhat affordable.

Not everyone on this list will be interested in playing a female James Bond, nor will the studios want them. And even if they are, only one can win the role, and a bidding war could easily play into that.

But that’s if there’s ever going to be a female James Bond to begin with.

I do think we’re certainly trending in that direction, though. At -180, I see no reason not to roll the dice here and bet on some major change coming. In my opinion, Daniel Craig has become the greatest James Bond of all time, so pivoting to another male actor at this point would seem a bit rash.

The franchise isn’t exactly stale, but switching things up with a female lead could be fun, and there are so many deserving options out there.

My list of actresses that should be the next James Bond should tell you that. It also shows you that picking just one to fill those legendary shoes won’t be easy.

Of the lot, my favorite pick has to be Charlize Theron.

She was just so spot-on in Atomic Blonde, and she exhibits everything a witty, beautiful secret agent should be. The problem is that she has her own thing going with Atomic Blonde, so I doubt I get my wish here.

There is a chance I get my wish in some capacity, though. I think Hollywood needs to do this, and I’ll be amped for an actual list of James Bond odds once the top entertainment betting sites start gauging who the studios grab for the lead role.

For now, I’m hopeful we get some positive change within the franchise. And if it ends up being any of the awesome actresses I profiled, I’ll be ecstatic.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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