What ‘James Bond’ casting director looks for in new ‘007’?

Published : 17 Sep 2021 10:28 PM

Ahead of No Time to Die's release, ‘James Bond’ casting director Debbie McWilliams has opened up about the process behind casting a new ‘007’. First appearing in 1962's ‘Dr No’, ‘James Bond’ has become one of the film industry's most enduring figures, appearing across 25 films produced by Eon Production over the course of almost 60 years, and has portrayed by six different actors.

 ‘No Time to Die’ is set to be the 25th instalment in the series, and actor Daniel Craig's final outing as the character. Naturally, there has been a great deal of speculation over who will replace him in the role, with the likes of Tom Hardy, Idris Elba, and Richard Madden reportedly being considered.

After several delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘No Time to Die’ looks to wrap up the arc that began with Craig's first outing as Bond in 2006's Casino Royale. The film sees Bond called out of retirement to help prevent Rami Malek's Lyutsifer Safin from enacting a scheme that could kill millions. The film will see Craig reunite with series regulars Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Rory Kinnear, with Lea Seydoux's Madeleine Swann and Chritoph Waltz's Blofeld also returning from ‘Spectre’. ‘No Time to Die’ will also see Lashana Lynch join the cast as Nomi, a 00 agent who has taken over the designation of ‘007’ since Bond' retirement.

With the question of who will replace Craig being the question on everyone's mind, McWilliams is someone who can offer the best insights, having been involved in the Bond series since 1981's For Your Eyes Only, and thus overseen the casting of three ‘Bonds’. 

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, McWilliams explained that when casting ‘Bond’ she looks for "somebody who can hold their own, who is attractive, physical, and capable of taking on not just the part but all the razzmatazz that goes with it." She added that while the role is beloved, "it's not so defining now as it used to be" allowing actors to safely move onto other projects without the burden with the label of a former ‘Bond’.