So full disclosure, I have been re-reading the esteemed Jim of these boards’ 007th Minute…(and if you’re new around here, it’s required reading).
Unable to sleep (my wife’s an epic snorer, you know), I found myself re-casting James Bonds – flipping leads from film to film – so only our six, not somebody new. Apologies if this has been done before, I tried to figure out which films could be improved – or at the worst, kept the same – by re-casting the lead. And in the process (remember, it was three in the morning) actually thinking a lot harder about what the leads have brought to the series. For example:
YOLT – SC has decided to leave the series – not after, but before cameras roll. What do Cubby and Harry do? Fire up the time machine and bring in who? Well, conventional wisdom would be Sir Rog. At home in the OTT epic (hey, TSWLM is the same bleedin movie…), and a good enough actor to leave his mark in the moments that count. But Spy and MR, well their tongues are firmly in their cheeks, whereas YOLT, while OTT, is playing things straight. It’s made for TND Brozza – at home amongst the machine guns, but easily throwing away “a drop in the ocean” and “this must be my second life.”
TWINE – Talking of Brozza, well, the first rushes are back and all the emoting over whats-her-name is just too much. You’re relieved Sir, and replaced with…….Laz! P&W’s first effort is so clearly one long homage to OHMSS, who better to pull off a more human, slightly naïve Bond, than Laz? Who to be fair wasn’t an actor, so most definitely could not have committed the sin of overacting. The action’s not a problem, he could pull off the “Christmas” line, and to be fair would have been a more believable Bond opposite whats-her-name the villain.
MR – Spaceships? Cue Woody Allen jokes….
OP – IMHO the quintessential Sir Rog (more than MR). Clowns, “Fill her up” and yes, Jim, the casual racism, great stunts, and an older female lead. Look, we went with Brolin and it’s been a disaster. Who can we get? DAD Brozza that’s who. He can convincingly run the gamut (gorilla suits, auction scene, incredible stunt work) that OP asks of its lead.
TB – I think there’s more to the “4th Bond Film” theory (always the biggest) than the 3rd Bond theory (an actor’s best) because SC gets better and better in each of this first 4. That said, his toupee’s been lost and we’ve no choice but to replace him. But who do we get that can come close to what IMHO is SC’s best performance? Let’s jet-pack in CR DC. The only real pun is “I think he got the point” and the rest of the dialogue is more naturally humourous and clever. The train scene with Vesper is a direct descendant of Bond seducing Domino, and Bond’s self-confidence once he arrives in Montenegro is the Bond of Shrublands. And as a bonus, we can bring in Jeffrey Wright……
OHMSS – The big one. I’m on record as the one man who thinks OHMSS is not a better film with SC (not worse, just not slam-dunk better), but Laz’s Big Fry contract has not actually lapsed (what was that stuff? Mint and dark chocolate? An oversized After Eight if I remember correctly) so he does need to be replaced. But who? For me, TD hands-down. The thought of him with this script? Through-the-roof brilliant. But here’s a left-field thought. Sir Rog – but not Sir Rog Bond, but Sir Rog Simon Templar as Bond. Hmmmm.
Thoughts? Remember, you can’t change anything about the films – the script is as it was shot.