With No Time To Die finally entering theaters in Europe, Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond is officially coming to an end. That means the hunt for 007 number 7 will then properly begin. It’s often said that the franchise needs to change it up next time around, perhaps with a person of color or a woman taking the part. An option that’s not often talked about a whole lot, though, is the notion of an openly gay actor playing the role.
This was pitched to NTTD star Ben Whishaw, who is gay himself, during an interview with Attitude Magazine — and the Paddington star gave a very enthusiastic response to the idea.
“God, can you imagine?” he said. “I mean, it would be quite an extraordinary thing. Of course I would like to see that.”
Whishaw went on to make clear that he doesn’t think Bond should be depicted as gay if the actor playing him was but believes the industry needs to get to a place where LGBTQ+ performers can get to portray someone like the super-secret agent regardless of their sexuality.
“I really believe that we should be working towards a world where anyone can play anything and it would be really thrilling if it didn’t matter about someone’s sexuality to take on a role like this,” Whishaw continued.
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The actor concluded by choosing his picks for openly gay stars he thinks would make great Bonds – Beauty and the Beast‘s Luke Evans and Bridgerton‘s Jonathan Bailey. Whishaw called either of them “ideal casting”, though he pondered whether they would be interested in accepting such a life-changing job.
“I mean, they’re both wonderful and they’re both wonderful actors,” he said. “I wonder if either of them would want to — because it’s not just the demands of the role, but it’s like the demands of being Bond in the world and what it symbolizes and how it would change your life.”
The new movie marks Whishaw’s third appearance as MI6’s quartermaster Q, following his debut in 2012’s Skyfall and return in 2015’s Spectre. With nothing decided about the future of the series as yet, it’s currently unclear whether Whishaw and his fellow Team Bond members — like Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny and Ralph Fiennes’ M — will stick around for the next Bond or if they’ll be recast, too. We won’t know more until sometime next year, as franchise producer Barbara Broccoli has said the casting process won’t begin until 2022.
Following its worldwide premiere in London this Tuesday, No Time To Die opens in the UK on September 30th and then hits US theaters on October 8th.