Luke Evans in Lead for New James Bond But Will Hollywood Cast an Out Actor in Iconic Role?

Friday July 9, 2021

Will Hollywood history be made with the casting of the next James Bond?

That could be the case with several actors being considered to replace Donald Craig, who finished shooting his last "007" performance 18 months ago but needs to wait until the film is officially released to mark his goodbye to the role. "No Time to Die" is out in September.

Bookmakers have been weighing the relative odds of actors who have publicly announced their interest in the role or have been speculated in the press. Among the favorites have been Tom Hardy, James Norton, Richard Madden, Michael Fassbender and Aiden Turner — actors who would fall in the tradition of having a cis, white actor play Ian Fleming's super-spy.

But coming up on the lists are Black actors Rege-Jean Page and Idris Elba. The latter has long been a favorite, but Page jumped onto the list after his overnight success last year with Netflix's "Bridgerton." The casting of either actor would mark the first time a person of color was cast as Bond.

Luke Evans fits into the former category of cis, white actors, except that he is the highest profiled openly gay actor working in Hollywood today.In May Evans expressed his interest in playing the role. Whether or not that is a factor, he has jumped to the top of those with the best odds of getting cast as Bond on the leading betting sites, BetFair and PaddyPower, with odds of 2/1, reports.

Age, though, might be a factor. "Evans turned 42 last month, so realistically, he would already be in his mid-40s by the time he made his Bond debut," adds "In recent years, and ignoring the extraordinary circumstances surrounding No Time to Die, a new Bond film has come out approximately once every three years. It means that like Dalton's, Evans' tenure might be a brief one. Craig was 37 when Casino Royale premiered, and it meant he could remain in the role for a decade and a half before bowing out gracefully."

But if he is cast, Evans would break one of Hollywood's longest-standing taboos: that an out actor can take over a major franchise without any harm to its box office. In doing so, he would break the glass ceiling that has kept out actors from playing heterosexual roles for fear that audiences would turn away.

Not as if Evans is sitting still waiting to hear. The Welsh-born actor is spinning any number of projects. He is set to reprise his role of Gaston in a television prequel to Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" along with Josh Gad. He also was cast as the Coachman in †Robert Zemeckis'†live-action film adaptation†of Disney's†"Pinocchio" with†Tom Hanks. He also signed to star in a new action thriller by "Hurt Locker"-scribe Mark Boal.

In August, Evans appears as a member of the ensemble in Hulu's "Nine Perfect Strangers," where he co-stars with Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Regina Hall and Bobby Cannavale. In the series, EDGE reported in March, Evans plays a gay divorce lawyer, saying it was "nice" to portray a gay character on screen for the first time.

"It was a lovely character to delve into and to calibrate and deliver this complex person. But, yes, it was nice to play a gay character after all these years of doing roles on stage and screen."

And when not screening, Evans has been working on getting himself into the best shape possible and showing his progress on Instagram over the last year.