Damian Lewis on James Bond: Books, Movies and Rumors *UPDATED*

Rumor has had it since June 2015 that Damian Lewis is in “the running” to be the next James Bond… Given that it seems Daniel Craig is coming back to play the world’s most famous secret agent again, and Esquire recently reporting  that James Bond producers seem to lean toward Idris Elba as the next 007, the rumor does not hold much water. However, it is such an EXCITING and FUN rumor that we could not resist blogging about it earlier here and are still having fun with it! And I have been having fun personally not just because my favorite actor might be in the running for such a high profile role, but also because it just cracks me up seeing how fired up everyone has been about the whole James Bond enterprise. While some push their favorite actor for the role — a long list including, and not limited to, Damian Lewis, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender, Henry Cavill, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, and Tom Hiddleston — others root for their favorite actress such as Gillian Anderson or Cate Blanchett to be the first female bond. Well, a female Bond would certainly make the feminist in me smile big, too!

What tops the fun for me is how the possibility of Damian being the next Bond has divided people on Social Media with tweets commenting on, YES, his hair color! “Yes, the world is ready for a ginger Bond” versus “Do you really want to have a ginger Bond?” tweets have come in proving the point we’ve made here on the blog earlier that people just cannot be indifferent to the guy’s hair color. Freakin’ unbelievable!

okot10

Damian Lewis portraying MI6 agent Hector Meredith in Our Kind of Traitor on big screen helped revive the question about Bond in 2016. Here is Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie being pretty direct about it.

It starts exactly at 3:08!

Yes! The chat is FUN and Damian has our vote, too! And, a little note to Damian about meeting your heroes: Well, I met my screen hero and, you know what, it is not just that he has not disappointed but also he is the coolest and kindest guy ever 😀 So if you get the call, just go ahead! 😀

So this is a rumor which we have been taking lightly with a Bond-like “Never say Never.” But then what am I writing this post for? Well, Damian’s not been in a Bond movie but he has had his flirts with 007 in different capacities… He narrated Diamonds are Forever for AudioGo (formerly BBC audiobooks), he played in short movie Desire in which the protagonist Sidney Clark was sort of a James Bond parody… And, hey, last but not the least, Helen was in Skyfall!  And, I have found, with a little bit of research, that Damian is a Bond fan! So… here is what Damian thinks about all things Bond… the books… the movies… the actors… the music… as well as THE rumors!

flirtingwith007

Let’s start with a few highlights from a GQ interview Damian did in 2012 just after he narrated Diamonds are Forever.

GQ: “What first drew you to the Bond books?”

DL: There is a campery in Ian Fleming’s Bond books which makes them so much fun. There is an intrinsic cruelty in all of them but at the same time Fleming is a bit of a performer and he quite likes the material to be elevated slightly beyond the plausible. You have to try and catch that spirit but at the same time remain true to the voice of a British gentleman. The second big challenge is if you’re going to read an entire novel and you’re going to have to make a decision about how you make the characters immediately recognizable to the listener.”

source: amazon.com
source: amazon.com

Now… I cannot comment on Damian’s narrative at the moment since I still have not been able to “read” it 🙂 And I have a confession to make: This will be my first Bond book — audio or otherwise. But I will make sure to report back! If you are interested, Diamonds are Forever is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

GQ: “What was your first Bond book?”

DL: “The first Bond novel I read was Dr No. I think it was because at the time I mistakenly thought it was the first one he wrote rather than just being the first film that he made. I always remember the description of Bond arriving on Dr No’s island – there’s a description about spiders and creepy crawlies. It wasn’t particularly scary to a teenage boy but it was so detailed and graphic – he captured the dread of the island just perfectly. You know that Bond is going to spend time in this other reality. Ian Fleming is a page turner but he enjoys his more complex psychological moments and is always trying to imbue Bond with those characteristics.”

GQ: “On screen, which Bond do you prefer?”

DL: “I have to make a confession: when I was younger Roger Moore was my favourite Bond. For everyone else it was Sean Connery but I liked the slightly arch eyebrow-raising Roger Moore who was doing the whole thing with a lot of fun. He just looks like he’s stepped out of an Austin Reed shop window.”

Oh, yes! And I believe Damian would become more of a Moore Bond rather than a Connery Bond. Now…  Damian would be a unique Bond but you know whoever becomes Bond, the comparison with Connery and Moore is quite inevitable! Well… Connery is everyone’s favorite, I know, but he is a bit too macho for me. His Bond is certainly charismatic and intense, while Roger Moore is charming and, compared to Connery, more than a bit laid back. I love the way he brings humor to Bond; as Damian rightly points out, he does “the whole thing with a lot of fun.”

bondcollage

Damian adds a bit more about Roger Moore’s eye brow in an interview with Daily Mail:

“There was something about the way he seemed to be mocking the whole thing that I found hugely enjoyable – and I was fascinated by his one eyebrow that seemed to have a life of its own. I’ve been practising that in the mirror since I was 12, and still can’t do it without looking like I’m frowning.”

Well, Damian, you do not know how many times Tbkwrm and I talked about our fascination with your one eyebrow that seemed to have a life of its own! I guess your practice, in fact, has paid off! This is HILARIOUS! 😀

GQ interview then turns to how brilliantly Ian Fleming portrays food in the books… And, all of a sudden, the answer to the following question makes my day!

GQ: “GQ’s Thomas Blythe has never quite got over the fact that Bond makes a quiche in A View To a Kill.

DL: “That was quite a good song by Duran Duran wasn’t it? Being a closet Duran Duran myself. You were always asked as a kid – you were either a Smiths fan which meant you were cool or you were a Duranie. I was always a Duran Duran fan in slightly too pale Eighties denim. Then all the cool kids were listening to Morrissey.”

Oh. My. God. I wrote about how much I LOVED Duran Duran earlier here! I just so LOVE LOVE LOVE this! So, Damian, were you pretending to be a Smiths fan but secretly singing along to “…until we dance into the fire, that fatal kiss is all we need…” or what? A little bit more research brings a wonderful quote from Damian in an interview with The Times: when he was forced, as a teenager, to choose between indie rock and Duran Duran, he was “right in the Simon Le Bon camp in a fairly dreadful way. And prog rock.”

Simon Le Bon is my first BIG crush and now I am finding out Damian was “right in the Simon Le Bon camp.” To quote great Charlie Crews: “That in this way everything is connected to everything else.”

OK there is no way I can stop here! Here’s A View to a Kill for all Duranies like me and closet Duranies like Damian out there!!! Simon Le Bon kills it with his Elvis looks and the song is the ONLY 007 theme song that made it to #1 in the US charts!

“Bon… Simon Le Bon…”

😀

Back to the interview:

GQ: “Who would you like to see direct a Bond next?”

DL: “I’d like to see Alejandro Inarritu do one given the gritty place Bond is in at the moment – although it’s opening up a bit now. He did 21 Grams, Biutiful, Amores Perros – he’s a director that people say he manages to make the ugly beautiful or the gritty real and give it a poetic feeling. He might be quite interesting.”

I don’t know about what will happen with the next Bond, but I would keep my fingers crossed for Inarritu to direct Damian in ANY movie. What Damian says about Inarritu as a director is exactly what I am thinking of him as an actor — he has this magic touch to make the unlikeable lovable! Think about Brody. Soames. Or Henry VIII. Oh, just imagine Inarritu and Lewis together: A match made in heaven — Bond or not!

An Esquire interview in 2013 takes the next step and asks Damian Lewis about what he would think of “throwing his hat in the ring” for 007.

“Yes, I think it would be wonderful… Daniel’s doing an amazing job and he’ll continue to do it for a bit. But if it ever comes to that, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”

source: esquire.co.uk
source: esquire.co.uk

Oh, he would brilliantly cross that bridge… To quote JaniaJania, “he’d be the most emotionally accessible and human superhero ever.” Just look at this guy! He’s BOND from head to toe! Charismatic. Charming. Witty. And I bet Damian loves his Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred 😀

Well, the question pops up everywhere in the last two years and here is my two “gotta LOVE this guy” 007 moments with Damian.

In October 2015 during the Q&A at the New Yorker Festival — in case you missed our coverage, you can see it here —a  lady who says she is one of Damian’s “original bunnies” (in case you are not familiar, this is what Damian’s early fans call themselves) asks Damian if she could put her money on him being the next James Bond.

source: Getty Images
source: Getty Images

Damian goes:

“I don’t know if you are a gambling woman, or not… I have not had any phone calls, so I would not like to see you lose your five bucks.”:D

And the question pops up again on Damian’s appearance on Top Gear in spring 2016.

“Name is Bond. Ginger Bond.”

In closing… I will not be lying to you. I have been so TORN about this whole Bond business. On one hand, I know Bond is such a huge cultural heritage and such a high profile role that I would, of course be very happy if Damian Lewis got the role and brought us a Bond that no one has seen before… I know he would give Bond a depth no other actor could. But, I also know I would not mind a bit if he did not become Bond. Because I know, I just know, he will just make a great job with whatever role comes his way — and just for selfish reasons I would prefer to see him as a flawed, vulnerable, real character than as a superhero even if it’s a superhero at its most human. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Damian playing a spy, but it is not James Bond but it is Hector Meredith who is my kind of spy. In fact, Damian is spot on as he contrasts the world of le Carré with that of Fleming in an interview with Sunday Post:

“Fleming’s world of espionage is about fantasy and wish fulfillment, where as le Carré is interested in drawing stories from real time and culture.”

THAT IS exactly why I prefer the latter to the former. And THAT is exactly why I have been torn. It is sort of a relief for me that Daniel Craig is returning to play 007 again. Having said this… In the words of a guy that I admire a bit too much, if it ever came to THAT, I would cross that bridge when I got to it. And, hey, I would pop the champagne, too! 🙂

source: GQ
source: GQ

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

11 thoughts on “Damian Lewis on James Bond: Books, Movies and Rumors *UPDATED*”

    1. We do know THAT, right? I thought it was THE original! But I think his years of practice paid off!!! 😀

  1. I love Daniel Craig as Bond! He’s my favorite but I would love to see Damian in the role. Having been around since Sean Connery days I’m used to James changing.
    Purist alert MARTINIS ARE GIN AND DRY VERMOUTH and just s bit of that. Garnished with an olive.

    1. I believe he would create a character closer to Roger Moore’s Bond, no wonder he’s Damian’s favorite, a more goofy one, and he would certainly bring more depth to the character. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bond movies, but I find them as entertainment, and not art. And this applies to any box office action movie made with money in mind. It would be quite interesting should Damian do a “box office” movie — it would be very interesting for me only to see how I will react to it! 🙂 Love your purist’s martini!

  2. I’m torn as well Damianista: Bond or other movies. Daniel Craig has been able to schedule both as Damian probably would. Craig is also my favorite Bond. I saw an interview with Idris Elba and he seemed pretty certain he didn’t want to be characterized as the first Black Bond. It’s interesting that Damian references le Carré. My first choice (sorry Damian) is Tom Hiddleston who was superb in le Carré’s The Night Manager. I’m voting for Hiddleston as Bond and Damian as Steve McQueen, please, please make that happen.

    On Duran Duran who do you pick? All of the guys were beautiful and yes talented. And such great music and videos.

    On Bond/Damian being a ginger, I honestly never think of it until I read or hear it. I don’t consciously see it when I look at him, and boy do I like to look at him.

    1. The recent tweet by Elba “My name’s Elba, Idris Elba” can be interpreted both ways even though people perceive it as a signal that he will be the next Bond. I would love either a black or a female Bond, it is time. Damian would certainly be perfect in the role, but I guess he will be too old for it in a few years (because they want people to make a few movies before they leave the character) but this applies to Elba as well. So we’ll see! It’s very interesting Damian compares/contrasts Fleming and le Carre, and I am with him. I read somewhere someone gave him the Night Manager, the book, years ago, and told him he should play Hugh Laurie’s role, and he put it on the shelf and forgot about it 🙂 I loved Hiddleston in The Night Manager, too. And, yes, he would make a great Bond as well. I certainly want Damian to play Steve McQueen (and he will now in Tarantino’s latest movie though a small role) over 007, no question about it!

      Let’s say there was Simon Le Bon wayyyyy before Damian Lewis – my first ever big crush, my bedroom was covered with Duran Duran posters, and Simon was THE one! We were five girlfriends and shared the boys among us hahaha!

      Oh the prejudice against the red heads is amazing! I am with you, I don’t even consciously see the hair when I look at him, and yeah to repeat your words “boy do I like to look at him!” 🙂

  3. The interview I saw was a couple years ago. Maybe Elba is giving Bond more consideration.

    I wonder if Damian was officially offered Hugh Laurie’s role. I felt that character was appropriately cast as an older gentlemen (or if you prefer terrorist).

    I just couldn’t decide on the Duran boys. One day Simon, another day John, but I think Andy caught my eye the most. Then again, depends on the day.

    Tarantino’s cast sounds fantastic. Can’t wait. I hope Damian’s role isn’t too small. And I’ll say again hoping another director/producer will grab him for a Steve McQueen lead.

    In another direction, Echo and the Bunnymen are touring. I believe Billions kick started that.

    1. Maybe the Bond people are making more and more appealing offers to Elba. He would make a great Bond!

      I don’t think Damian was offered a role in The Night Manager. It is just that someone gave him the book and told him he could play in an adaptation.

      Damian’s role in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is probably small, I guess everyone but Leonardo di Caprio and Brad Pitt are minor characters but my hope is another director/producer seeing him as SMQ and casting him as lead in a biopic or something like that.

      Haha Echo and the Bunnymen ROCKED Episode 5!

      ps. Yes, I knew it was you, Joyce, since we started this convo earlier. Hope all is well <3

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