James Bond casting director opens up on having to 'go back to drawing board and start again'

Daniel Craig

Craig parted ways with the Bond role in 2021

Paige Creaney

By Paige Creaney

Published: 14/04/2023

- 16:27

Updated: 14/04/2023

- 16:54

Casting director Debbie McWilliams explained why younger actors usually don’t fit when it comes to finding a new James Bond

A new James Bond is on the way following Daniel Craig’s exit in “No Time to Die", and while rumours circulated last year that a younger actor was being casted and that the age of 007 would decrease considerably from Craig’s era, such claims have been squashed.

In a recent interview, longtime James Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams explained why younger actors usually don’t fit when it comes to finding a new James Bond.

“When we started, it was a slightly different feel,” McWilliams said about the last search for a new 007 that ended with Craig’s selection.

"We did look at a lot of younger actors, and I just don’t think they had the gravitas.

Debbie McWilliams

McWilliams said there is "lots to be taken into consideration" when casting the next Bond.


"They didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the mental capacity to take it on, because it’s not just the part they’re taking on, it’s a massive responsibility.

“So we kind of scrubbed that idea and went back to the drawing board and started again" he told the Radio Times.

The team settled on Craig, who was in his 30s at the time, however the decision did not receive unanimous praise.

“It was unbelievably negative, I have to say," McWilliams told Entertainment Weekly in 2021.

“The press response was awful and I felt so sorry for him, but in a funny kind of a way I think it almost spurred him on to do his damndest to prove everybody wrong.

"The whole way through the film, stuff would come out about [how] he couldn’t walk and talk, he couldn’t run, he couldn’t drive a car properly, so much stuff which was completely and utterly untrue.

“And he just kept his head down, got on with the job and then the film came out and everybody went, ‘Oh wow, I think we quite like him after all.’”

Craig went on to star in a total of five James Bond movies, with the search for his replacement beginning at some point this year, producers Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have said repeatedly.

Reg\u00e9-Jean Page

Bridgerton's Regé-Jean Page has been suggested as the future bond


McWilliams pointed out that most James Bond actors are relatively unknown on a mainstream film level when they are cast.

“Timothy Dalton was known, but he was known as a Shakespearean actor, really” she said.

“Pierce [Brosnan] was known, but that was basically from television. Roger Moore was known from television. Sean Connery wasn’t, nobody had ever heard of him.

"A certain audience had heard of Daniel Craig, but much more the kind of independent cinema audience. He hadn’t done any huge commercial film at all, really."

Former Superman actor Henry Cavill and Bridgerton's Regé-Jean Page have been suggested as future Bonds, with Idris Elba, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Tom Hardy also touted to take on Ian Fleming's fictional creation.

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