Question of the Week: Which actor(s) would you like to see as Bond villain?

It’s been fun reading all the Bond posts spearheaded by ParagraphFilmReviews’ James Bond January event. A few of my blog friends Marc, Ross and Darren are participating… props to all of ‘em for saying nice things about my favorite Bond :D But it’s this particular post that inspire me to write this post… “Sean Bean should be the bad guy in every Bond film,” Ross McG brilliantly quipped, and y’know what, I can’t exactly disagree w/ that idea. But of course we can’t have that, and I’ve always despised films that somehow bring back dead characters in some absurd dream sequence or something of the sort.

Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan in Goldenye

Anyways, what we already know so far with Bond 23 is that it’s finally back on track again with Sam Mendes directing. Daniel Craig will be back, as well as Judi Dench as M. Yay! (I love that the best MI-6 director is a woman). Even though I grew up watching the larger-than-life villains in various Bond films, I kind of want a more ‘realistic’ villain that’s less of a caricature like say Carl Stromberg or Hugo Drax (though I’m contradicting myself as I quite like the latter as I mentioned here). I’m thinking those more in the vein of Sean Bean‘s Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye and maybe even Robert Davi in Licence to Kill, essentially someone whom I can picture Bond actually being friendly with in another life, y’know. I’d also like to think that with an acclaimed Oscar-winning director like Mendes at the helm, why not get a real thespian to portray a more complex and intellectual baddie, but without taking the fun out of a Bond flick of course (yeah I know, aren’t I picky).

Anyhoo, here are just a few names that came to mind as I’m writing this post:

  • Alan Rickman
    Though I love Rickman in his good guy–even romantic–roles as much as the villainous ones, let’s face it, he’s such a bonafide, reliable baddie. Plus he can imbue sophistication and elegance into any role, always a nice criteria in a Bond villain IMO. I know he probably won’t go into iconic-villain territory after his classic turn as Hans Grubber in Die Hard, but oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
  • Gary Oldman
    Here’s an actor who can play practically anything believably, the ultimate chameleon. I wholeheartedly agree with this astute commenter on the post about Oldman … “He’s a brilliant actor who makes every role his own and has managed to avoid being pigeonholed by Hollywood. Yeah he often plays baddies/heavies, but he never plays a certain TYPE of bad guy, he brings something new to the table every time.” Exactly. He could be a figure that Bond looks up to, who in the end turns out to be the one who betrays him.
  • Clive Owen
    I said in Ross’ post that why not cast a villain that’s just as smooth and cool as 007 himself? With all the casting rumor and Clive being in a bunch of people’s wish list for the role (including mine), it’d be such a treat to see him on the opposite side, going toe to toe as Bond’s arch nemesis. With a shrewd script, it could be the best Bond ever. With a villain like this, it’d be tough to root for the hero!
  • Cate Blanchett
    There’s barely a memorable woman villain in a Bond flick (Elektra King is close, but not quite), but with Blanchett I think she can do the job and maybe even warrant an Oscar nomination, ha! She’d be reunited with Judi Dench, who’s her co-star in Notes of a Scandal, and maybe her character is has a connection with M somehow which creates a rift between her and Bond.

    And last but not least, my ultimate dream Bond villain:
  • Timothy Dalton
    Andy @ Fandango Groovers once had this splendid idea of casting Dalton as an older, retired Bond. Now, the chance of that dream coming true is unfortunately zilch to none. Not that this one has even a slightly bigger chance of happening either, but think about it, it really would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

    In the comment section the post, Ross lamented “… 20 odd films, and in not one of them is the audience at any stage worried about the fate of the lead character…” Well, I always thought Dalton’s Bond got that sense of danger and ruthlessness that makes us believe he’s capable of killing in cold blood. With the right direction and script, perhaps we could at least add more tension and suspense in the Bond/baddie dynamic and actually believe at least for a moment the seemingly-indestructible super spy is in serious peril.

Well, feel free to add to the list, or supply your thoughts about any of my picks.

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60 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Which actor(s) would you like to see as Bond villain?

  1. I LOVE the idea of Dalton. That’d be brilliant casting…

    After seeing Inception, I thought Tom Hardy would be a good Bond villain…or even a Bond when Craig retired.

    I love this series, but I don’t think it has had a strong villain since Sophie Marceau.

    Some actors that come to mind: Javier Bardem, Gael Garcia Bernal, maybe Michael Fassbender?

    • Hey thanks John, glad to know more people in my corner in regards to Dalton.

      I have suggested Hardy for Bond but yeah, I can see him being good as the villain, too. He’d be the cool baddie :D

      Y’know, despite how dumb World is Not Enough was, I actually like Marceau, but the main villain is Robert Carlyle who is kinda lame.

      Oh, great suggestions there. I especially like the last one.

  2. Taking a page out of your Timothy Dalton playbook, I think it could be brilliant to go with Sean Connery. The chances of it becoming a bit are high but if done right it could be dynamic. Plus I miss Sean Connery, so…

    • Oh yeah, Connery! Wow, if the producers can somehow entice him to do it, it’d be a smash hit! But Connery’s been known to turn down so many things (just see my Trivia page).

  3. Those are good choices and I always thought that the Bond films never had a great villain. For such a iconic cinematic character, you’d expect him to have his Joker or Lex Luthor, maybe Mendes will finally create one for him.

    My choice for an actor to play the villain in a Bond film is Kenneth Branagh, he’s a great actor and he could be quite menacing on screen if the role demands him to be. I always imagine what his character would’ve been like in Mission: Impossible 3 had Fincher directed the movie, he was attached to play the main bad guy.

  4. cheers for the shoutout Ruth. Hugo Drax was great.
    Rickman of course would be a terrific Bond villain. Cate Blanchett, as much as i love her, less so. she had her shot with Indy.

    • Well cheers to you for the inspiration :D Glad you agree on Drax, I just thought he’s so elegant, the quiet killer. I really hope Rickman is at least considered for future Bonds, I mean he’d just be perfect. Ha..ha.. I’m not as bothered by Cate in Indy 4, the movie is just plain bad so she’s the least of its problems.

  5. ooooooh, Blanchet would be super amazing as a female villain, she was the only memorable thing from the last INDIANA JONES as the naughty Irina Spalko (absolutely breathtaking) …. she would make history if she would go rough with Bond :)
    Meryl Streep would also be a bomb in such a role, since she never did it before, and would create miracles as some evil scheming iron lady :)
    I hope Rachel Weisz gets the role as I mentioned recently at HOLLYWOOD SPY.

    • He..he.. I knew you’re going to agree with me on Cate, Dezzy. I know lots of people don’t like her as Irina but she’s always watchable to me. The movie is bad but not on account of her. Not sure about Streep though, she just doesn’t seem to belong in a Bond flick. Yeah, I heard about Weisz from HS, it’d be interesting if she got it given her relationship w/ Craig.

    • Of course you can, Nov. I’d say if he can’t be Bond, why not beat Bond, ahah. He’s my pick for Bond too before Craig was finally chosen. Have you seen all the BMW films Nov? I mean, he’s the definitive suave super spy material to me.

  6. Oh, I’d love to see Gary Oldham play a Bond baddie. Hopefully he’d turn in a better performance than the one he did for The Book of Eli.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Robert De Niro playing a Bond baddie.

    • I haven’t seen ‘Eli’ but yeah, doesn’t seem like one of his best work. Hmmm, DeNiro? I guess I’m not one of those who adore him so I’m not too keen on the idea. I mean I’m sure he’d be good, I just prefer to see someone else in a Bond movie.

      • …I think Christian Bale would also prove to be a good villain. He could play Bond himself of course, but I think it would be much more exciting seeing him as the bad guy.

  7. Great idea for a post Ruth. While I love the idea of a woman villain I do have problems with 3 of your picks…the other two are rather inspired and would do wonders on screen…

    I think Gary Oldman’s talents are a bit above the 007 series …although he was in The Unborn so maybe it wouldn’t be that bad:P

    While Dalton would be quite an off the wall casting decision that really could work it reminds me of when Joe Don Baker went from playing a bad guy in TLD to a CIA agent in Goldeneye. That said it might make people scratch their heads more than stand up and cheer.

    Cate as a baddie? Nice idea but I get shudders when I think of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

    Though I totally allow my picks to be blasted and ridiculed: Stephen Graham, Michael Wincott, Djimon Honsou, Ray Winstone, Sienna Miller, Arnold Vosloo.

    • Michael Wincott: Love!
      Arnold Vosloo: Love!
      Sienna Miller was actually one of the high points of the GI Joe movie … interesting idea.

      RTM: There have been other female villains, though they’re usually sidekicks. Most notable, and IMO, the best woman in a Bond flick EVER: Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp. I do love the idea of Cate Blanchett, though. :)

      • @ Sam – yep, you’re right, the female villains are usually relegated to sidekick status, that’s why I’d love to see someone of Blanchett’s caliber to be the main villain. And yes, Famke was totally bad ass! :D

    • Why thanks Marc, thanks partly to you for the post idea. Well, not to refute Oldman’s talent, but if he doesn’t mind being in Harry Potter, I don’t see why he won’t do a Bond film, especially with Mendes at the helm.

      I think it’s quite different w/ Joe Don Baker as his characters are both so lame, but w/ Dalton, I don’t know if people would be confused by the contrast in characters, I’d think they’d either be amused by it or for younger folks not familiar with his work, they’d see him as a good villain.

      As for your picks, I actually dig all of them except Sienna Miller. She’s ok I suppose, not a brilliant actress, but she’s been in a movie with Daniel Craig before in Layer Cake.

  8. i like all your choices rtm….Dalton as a baddie, i never would have thought of that.

    @John I agree re: Hardy & Fassbender. Hardy could do either. & ever since i sat through the hot mess that is Blood Creek, i’ve known Fassbender can be seriously insane sinister.

    The 2 i thought of are Ralph Fiennes (too obvious?) and Natalie Dormer.

    Another stray thought…Imelda Staunton. Crazy right? But I loathe her even more than Voldemort in the Harry Potter flicks…the banality of evil, yadda yadda

    • Man I probably should see Blood Creek despite Joel Schumacher directing. I mean, Henry Cavill AND Fassy? Wow! Joel certainly knows how to pick his men… er I mean, actors :D

      Oooh Ralph Fiennes would be an excellent choice. And Dormer has that icy demeanor that’d work as a Bond female baddie.

      Ha..ha.. Imelda Staunton? I’d never thought of that, but nah, I’d rather see someone else.

  9. If I were to pick a James Bond ‘bad guy’ I would probably go for Tim Roth. To me he has played a lot of roles where he is the villain and plays them really well and makes what ever character his own.
    To play the next James Bond, I would pick Clive Owen, he just seems to fit the role and I think he would play a better bond than Daniel Craig, plus he looks great in a tux.

    • Hmmm, Tim Roth… I dunno, wasn’t he the baddie in Hulk? I suppose, I’m just not overly excited to see him in anything generally. But Craig, I’m with you on Clive for Bond, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen :(

  10. I love seeing Alan Rickman at the top of your list. He played one of the best villains ever in Die Hard. I think he basically created the whole cool-as-ice Euro-terrorist archetype.

    • Yep, everyone LOVES Hans Gruber. But I’d love to see him do a totally different take as a Bond villain though. We know he’s more than a one trick pony.

  11. A older Bond gone rogue sounds like a fantastic idea

    If they go for a younger villian i would suggest Michael Cera. A odd choice i know, but i think he showed he cna play badass in Youth in Revolt with with the Francois role, and i’ve been wanting to see him play more roles like that ever since

    • Oy, sorry Julian, but I just don’t see Cera anywhere near a Bond flick. I mean, sure he might be believable as a mean bad guy, just not in a Bond movie.

  12. Pingback: Open Bar: January 28 — ANOMALOUS MATERIAL

  13. While definitely not British, who says the villain MUST be? Sometimes they’re of Eastern European origin. I would like to nominate Rade Serbedzija as a villain.

    Loved him in The Saint, MI-2, 24, and even as the guy who Bruce Wayne gives his jacket to in Batman Begins! He has my pick as a Bond Baddie!

    • I don’t like Rade playing villains because in that way, thanks to his Slav accent, he supports the prejudice that Slav people and RUssians are villains.
      Rade has, by the way, lived and worked in my town for many years, and I actually got a smile from him when I was a kid :) :)

      • I tend to disagree with you here Dez. If he does a great job at the role, why not do it? The problem wouldn’t lie with him supporting a prejudice. It would lie with the audience clinging to one.

        By the same token then, Black actors should never play criminals, Native American actors should never act in similar roles, and Lindsey Lohan should never play as a blond! ;)

        I see it differently I suppose. That’s cool that you live in the same town has him. I admire his acting!

        • Scarlet, you can’t really use Lindsay as comparison in this case.
          When you constantly use certain nations as villains in all possible movies it hypnotizes people into believing that such nations are villainous in reality as well. And if you play in such films and take such roles you are a part of such irresponsible campaign whether you want to admit it or not. This is not a philosophical topic, Scarlet, but a real one. Some of us have to live in countries which are constantly portrayed as evil and we have horrible problems because of that. That’s why most of our actors never accept roles of evil Russians in films, and that’s why Rade usually refuses such roles too. People really have to start taking responsibility for what they do, not just use some superficial excuses and blame others.
          If I would play an evil Russian I would be guilty of spreading the prejudice just like you would be guilty of being ignorant if you would accept that prejudice.

          • Captain buzzkill strikes again. Im sorry, but most prejudices r started by their own culture society at some point n time. But that aside, a great actor looks past the prejudice and will still take the roles that suit them. Not because of their nationality but because of their acting ability.

            • @ Dezmond, I see where you’re coming from. But I actually see a lot of Brits being typecast as bad guys also, especially in American movies. In fact, there was one search term that ends up in my blog: Why British actors always play villains? But of course I don’t think that all Brits are bad guys, though I do think stereotyping is just plain lazy on Hollywood part.

  14. Anyone else hear that rumour a while back that Michael Sheen was being chased to play Blofeld?

    I’m not sure if I want him stroking a cat, but Sheen would make a wonderful counterpoint to Craig on screen, playing a more traditional Bond archetype (restrained, cultured, sophisticated) than Craig – which would give us the really cool situation of a villain out-Bonding Bond.

  15. As soon as I read the title of this post I thought of Clive Owen and then Mark Strong… but ultimately I think they really need to speak to Danny Huston or, if you really want someone as smoother than Bond then Chiwetel Ejiofor is your fella.

    • Glad you agree on Clive, Wynter. Danny Houston is good but love your idea of Chiwetel! He and Idris Elba would be awesome, two of the coolest Black British actors working today.

  16. I love the idea of Timothy Dalton as a Bond bad guy! :-D

    I remember reading that George Lazenby had suggested he play a bad guy during Brosnan’s time as 007. Funnily enough, the producers didn’t take him up on it.

    • Glad to hear it, Rich! Obviously I have a soft spot for the guy but I really believe he’d make a great Bond villain. If only the Broccolis would be open to that idea.

      Oh I had no idea about Lazenby wanting to play a baddie during Brosnan time, but even though he was a former Bond, he wouldn’t have made an impact as lots of people probably haven’t seen his Bond film.

  17. I heard that Alan Rickman was actually offered a bad-guy role in a bond movie; in fact I think it was (as you’ve illustrated) Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye, which of course eventually went to Sean Bean.

    He turned it down (as seems to be his habit!) in favour of something else, and no doubt also because he didn’t want to be typecast as ‘the villain’ again, despite the fact that he’s hardly ever played one! (Of course he played Hans Gruber in Die Hard – the sexiest villain ever IMHO! – and The Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves [though as a rather comedic role, it could be argued that he was more psychotic/self obsessed than truly evil!] and, I guess, he was a classic ‘bad guy’ in Quigley Down Under where he played a ruthless cattle baron. But most of his characters [as he himself is only too eager to point out] are ambiguous [think Severus Snape - without giving too much plot away!] )

    I really wish he had taken that role (or indeed any bond baddie role) – I may be biased as one of his greatest fans but I KNOW he would have been FANTASTIC!! :-)

    • Hi Sevvysgirl, welcome to FC! Oh I didn’t know he was offered a villain role in Goldeneye. Man, that’d have been awesome though I really like Sean Bean in the role. I wish Rickman had been the bad guy in Living Daylights, I’d rather see him than Joe Don Baker!!

      Yes, Rickman does make for a sexy and charming villain, doesn’t he? But you’re right, the Sheriff in RH is more amusing than menacing. Well let’s hope he still might play a Bond baddie down the road, fingers crossed!

  18. Ruth, I love the picks that you have made of Bond villains. Seeing any of them do that in a Bond film would be amazing. I am very much looking forward to seeing Javier Bardem as the villain in Skyfall. I think he’s an incredible actor, and will give a memorable performance. I would be curious to see Liam Neeson be a villain once again. I loved his work as a villain in Batman Begins, and as he has shown us recently, he is still a force in the action films!

    • Thanks Raul! I am very optimistic about Bardem in Skyfall. Oh Neeson is an excellent choice for a Bond villain, what a splendid idea!

  19. Interesting question, I would’t mind seeing Mickey Rourke as a villain as he has played quite a few of them over the course of his career.

  20. Omg yes, Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman, I would love to see them as a villain, they’d be awesome. If they ever do bring out a female villain, it has to be Cate Blanchett. Interesting, though I reckon Dalton could definitely pull off a villain, I don’t really know if I want to see him as one.

    • I know, right? Especially Rickman, he’d have ROCKED as a Bond villain! I LOVE Blanchett, so amen to what you said. I doubt Dalton would ever agree to be a Bond villain, but he’s sooo awesome as the villain in Rocketeer, he could be quite ruthless. He’s got that unpredictable thing going, when he looks at you, you don’t know whether he’d kiss you or kill you.

      • Oh yes. Definitely, Dalton has that kind of style, which I feel, makes him malleable to all kinds of roles. He’d be the most charming villain in Bond, if that ever happened :P

  21. The Timothy Dalton idea is brilliant! He sort of did a similar thing on Chuck, but that was sillier. This could work as a serious take on a former spy. They’d never reveal his name or anything, but he’d have a mysterious past that hinted at where he’d been. This should happen. Of course, I know it never will. Heck, I even think Brosnan could make that premise work.

    • Hi Dan! Glad you agree! Dalton is such a fine actor that he’d be great playing ANY role but I think considering his history as Bond would make it far more interesting, esp now that more people seem to appreciate his darker style. There’s a hint of danger about him as 007 that could be made more sinister as a villain. I don’t really care for Brosnan as Bond so I don’t know that he’d make as great an impact as Bond.

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