Who is the real candidate for the eventual role
as the sixth 007? Cindy Macdonald reports exclusively
for MI6 from the inner circle...
James Purefoy - James Bond #6?
14th July 2004
Whether or not Pierce
Brosnan returns as James Bond in the 21st
film in the series, due out in theatres on November
18th 2005, one thing is certain - the world will have a
new 007 by 2007.
Despite the current "will he, won't he" rumours
surrounding Brosnan and the tit for tat exchanges in the
media about the producers, MGM named him as their man whilst
putting a stop to the "too
old" debacle back in February.
But even if Brosnan puts on the tuxedo when Bond 21 filming
starts in January 2005, it will be for the last time. Brosnan
has stated that if he was to sign for Bond 21 it would be
So the hunt for James Bond #6 is on, even if his identity
may not be publicly announced until long after Brosnan's
Bond 21 has been released in theatres and resold on DVD.
Casting James Bond #6
The long list of potential candidates named in the press are exactly
that - potentials - and most of them have already announced their
unapproached or disinterested status. For one reason or another,
fans taking notes can cross off the 007 #6 list:
Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffurdd, Colin Farrell
and Rupert Everett.
Traditionally kept top secret, screen tests and read through's
for potential 007's can take years to come out of the woodwork.
With James Bond #6 that may be set to change.
Close to the official Bond camp are a tight ring of long standing
007 aficionados who often get a whiff of the future before anyone
else. Names, dates and details are passed along well in advance
of the wider fan community and press being made aware. With the
spotlight on the `Next Bond` question, one man has flown under
the radar of all speculation and media rumours - and it is the
same man the inner circle have been tipped off to.
Above: James Purefoy
It's All Just A Little
Bit Of History Repeating
Timothy Dalton screen
tested for his eventual role as 007 back in 1971 but had
to wait 16 years before he was made James Bond # 4 as he
was considered too young at the time. Pierce Brosnan, long
tipped as a favourite, screen tested to take over from Roger
Moore, but due to contractual problems had
to wait 8 years to become James Bond #5.
James Purefoy screen tested for "GoldenEye"
back in 1995, but the role would go to the public's favourite
- Pierce Brosnan. Nine years later, Purefoy is back in the
frame to play James Bond... #6.
The credentials which led producers to consider him back
in 1995 put him above everyone except Brosnan. Standing
at 6' 1" (1.85m), the English born actor met all the
requirements the public expects of the super-spy. Whether
or not Pierce Brosnan returns in Bond 21, Purefoy is top
of the list to become his eventual successor. The well-informed
agree, it's likely we will be seeing "Purefoy, James
Purefoy" headlines in 2005 or 2007.
James Purefoy was born in Somerset, England on June 3rd 1964. He
left school at the age of sixteen and took on various jobs, including
working on a pig farm, before travelling and working extensively
throughout Europe. At eighteen Purefoy returned to college to take
his A-Levels, one of which was Drama. He then applied for and was
accepted onto an acting course at the Central School of Speech and
Drama, where he played the title role in Henry V and was seen by
a casting director from the RSC and invited to join the company
immediately in Stratford.
After two years having performed in eight productions, Purefoy spent the next
six years dividing his time between theatre and television.
Purefoy made his feature film breakthrough in 1995 with
"Feast of July", and has averaged around three
films a year since. Among his recent top credits are "Vanity
Fair" (2004), "Resident Evil" (2002), "The
Wedding Tackle" (2000), "Lighthouse" (1999)
and "Mansfield Park" (1999).
Right: Purefoy was voted "hunk of
the year" in 1997 by a British television magazine.
The Bluffing Game
Generation-X fans may not be aware of the track record
of past episodes of Bond casting. If the current Pierce
Brosnan saga seems farcical, it tames in comparison to
past masters Sean Connery and Roger Moore who left the
public (and producers) hanging on whether or not they
would return. In 1971, when Roger Moore had previously
said he would not come back to make Bond 13, Sam Neil
and James Brolin were screen tested. A short while later,
Roger Moore confirmed he would be returning in "Octopussy".
Fast forward thirty years and the Internet has injected
the cottage industry of Bond Rumours with steroids, creating
dozens of stories every day. Who can blame Eon Productions
for refusing to deny rumours whether factual or farcical?
So don't hold your breath for statements dismissing or
confirming candidates. Only when the official statement
is made, usually accompanied by a press conference and
photo opportunity, will the casting for Bond 21 and/or
007 #6 be confirmed.
"Bond 21" Coverage
The views of this columnist and those expressed
in this article are not necessarily those of mi6-hq.com or it's