Rumor has had it since mid-June Damian Lewis is in “the running” to be the next James Bond… It’s a rumor… So probably not true. But it is an EXCITING and FUN rumor that we have blogged about earlier here and are still having fun with it! And I have been having fun personally not just because my favorite actor may be in the running for such a high profile role, but also because it just cracks me up seeing how opinionated everyone is about the whole James Bond enterprise. Everyone is so fired up pushing their favorite Bond candidate — say he is Damian Lewis, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender, Henry Cavill, Richard Armitage, or Tom Hiddleston… Oh, yes, it’s a pretty impressive list!
And, what tops the fun for me is how the possibility of Damian Lewis 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. Amazing!
So this is a rumor which we just take 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 recent rumors!
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.”
Now… I cannot comment on Damian’s narrative at the moment since I have just ordered my copy 🙂 And I have a confession to make: This will be my first Bond book — audio or otherwise. And 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, 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.”
And, besides, I have another reason to love Moore now that he has picked Damian Lewis as one of his favorites — the other one is Hugh Jackman —to take over from Daniel Craig! 🙂
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…” And who is your favorite band member?
UPDATE November 8, 2015: I knew it! Don’t ask me why but I knew it! I am EXTREMELY happy to quote Damian Lewis from an interview with The Times that 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.” Thank you!
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 but also the song has been the only 007 theme song that made it to #1 in the US charts!
“Bon… Simon Le Bon…” Hearing it still makes me smile!
Anyhow… 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.”
Oh my! I don’t know about what will happen with the Bond enterprise, 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 Soames Foryste. Or Henry VIII. Even my beloved Brody is not a character you fall in love at first sight… Oh, Inarritu and Lewis: it’s a match made in heaven!
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.”
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! Sleek. Refined. Charismatic. Charming. Witty. And I bet he loves his Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred 😀
So what does Damian think about the recent rumors? Well, this question pops up during the Q&A at the recent 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.
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
In closing… I will not be lying to you. I am just so TORN about this 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 noone 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 — and it’s very exciting just to think about the wonderful possibilities in his already very bright career! However, in the words of a guy that I admire a bit too much: “…if it ever comes to that, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.” And I will pop the champagne, too! 🙂