So Tom Hardy would like to play James Bond, would he? Specifically with Christopher Nolan directing? Do you know what? Thats an interesting idea. Whether Hardy would make a good Bond is, of course, completely subjective: you either like his look and think he fits the 007 bill, or you dont (we reckon hed make a better villain, ourselves). Still, you have to admit that a Tom Hardy Bond movie would be one to see, just for curiositys sake. And, blimey, it would certainly shake the series up a bit. Which got us thinking: if we could cast the lead role and choose the director (and flash backwards and forwards in time), which 10 Bond films would we pay good money to see? These are our ideas and, look, we know they wouldnt necessarily make the ideal 007 films. In some cases, had they happened and gone spectacularly awry (um, Lewis Collins in Octopussy, anyone?), they might have even killed the franchise. But wed be up for any take on James Bond that freshens up the formula (and in the mid-1980s, it badly needed refreshing. Hence, Licence to Kill, we suppose). So were talking about fantasy 007 films here ones that would exist in a parallel universe. They might be made by Eon, or they might not (which could never happen of course, as Eon jealously guard the rights); but notice that we havent suggested remaking Goldfinger the Rolls Royce of the series because it would be hard to imagine anyone topping that one. (No-one is going to remake Casablanca successfully, either). We do, though, have a couple of conditions to our fantasy Bond flicks: Eons gun barrel, featuring Monty Normans dang-dang-a-dang-dang Bond Theme, must kick proceedings off while the soundtrack has to be written by the late, great John Barry. Obviously. George Lazenby as James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) Directed by: Peter Hunt If On Her Majestys Secret Service had got the credit it deserved on its initial 1969 release, and if George Lazenby hadnt been given bad career advice and opted out of the role (before the producers could push him), he might have enjoyed a long run as 007. This, we reckon, wouldnt have been a bad thing. Stay with us on this one. Perceived wisdom is that Lazenby was about as animated as self-assembly flat-packed furniture but this is simply wrong. True, he didnt have Connerys charisma (who does?), fluffs a couple of lines and, by his own admission, let his leading man status go to his head off-screen; but for a former male model with zilch acting experience Lazenby played an onscreen blinder as Bond. Look at how he handles himself in the confrontation with Telly Savalas Blofeld, for instance, and, more importantly, the final scene cradling the dead Tracy. Plus, like Connery, Lazenby moved well and had a walk that was part swagger, part march (his gun barrel tells you all you need to know about his take on 007). With a second film, he could have grown into the role; and if Richard Maibaum had tempered the script to fit Lazenbys Bond, Diamonds Are Forever would have been a totally different movie not the campy, OTT froth that was finally made. Because the late Peter Hunt did such a sterling job directing OHMSS, wed have given him the gig again (or Bullitts Peter Yates or Where Eagles Dares Brian G. Hutton if Hunt wasnt available). By the way, Psycho actor John Gavin had actually signed a contract to play Bond in Diamonds are Forever, but then the studio got nervous and Connery clambered back on board. Gavin was American but if hed been able to do a convincing Brit accent, wed like to have seen his take on JB, too Lewis Collins as James Bond in Octopussy (1983) Directed by: Martin Campbell It is 1983. And Lewis Collins is doing his best 007 impression. Look, dont laugh. Yes, theres a touch of Robbie Williams about Lewis Collins (or, rather, theres a touch of Lewis Collins about Robbie Williams); but back in the early 1980s, Collins was busy fashioning himself as a movie action he-man after his TV hit The Professionals had run its course. Trouble is, the films he made werent particularly good (Who Dares Wins, Codename: Wild Geese, Commando Leopard) but Collins handled the action scenes well and, as one half of Bodie and Doyle (the Bodie half), had proved that he was good with a twinkly comedy line but could also exude macho menace. At the time, he was mooted as a possible James Bond by the media (but, then again, so was Oliver the Stud Tobias, Ian Ogilvy and Gareth Hunt) and is said to have auditioned for the role in 1982. So lets get this straight: are we seriously suggesting Lewis Collins, circa 1981, as 007? Um, well yes: hed have had to have poshed it up a lot and we readily admit his Octopussy might have been a franchise-ending disaster; but if he had been given the role and could have played 007 as a less thick-eared Bodie, it would have been a lot more hard-edged than the movie we actually got. As the young Martin Campbell had directed various episodes of The Professionals and would later successfully introduce two new Bonds (Brosnan and Craig) in their debut films, wed have given him the top job behind the camera. Sam Neill as James Bond in From Russia with Love (1987) Directed by: Steven Spielberg After his fame went up several notches thanks to the 1983 miniseries Reilly, Ace of Spies (episodes of which were directed by Martin Campbell its a small world), Sam Neill was frequently mentioned as a potential successor to Roger Moore. You could see why: the young Neill had a look of Connery about him and could do ruthless very well. The bonus features on The Living Daylights DVD includes part of Neills screen test for the Bond role (the bedroom scene from From Russia with Love that every would-be Bond is asked to play). Hes fantastic in the short moment we see: suave, sophisticated but with a hint of danger and apparently everyone in the crew loved him everyone except Cubby Broccoli, that is and he was the man who mattered. Timothy Dalton got the gig instead. As for Spielberg (who worked with Neill in Jurassic Park), it now seems laughable that he would have ever considered directing a Bond movie in the 1980s: he was one of the planets most famous directors with his own Indiana Jones franchise, for one thing. But in the 1970s, the young Spielberg did want to direct a 007 movie and lobbied Broccoli hard for the job. He was always turned down. And now, says Spielberg, they cant afford me. Someone of Spielbergs calibre would have needed a classic Bond tale to get his teeth into (so not the script for 1987s The Living Daylights, then). It would have had to be a remake of From Russia with Love, at the very least Timothy Dalton as James Bond in The Property of a Lady (1991) Directed by John McTiernan The Property of a Lady was all set to be Tim Daltons third Bond movie. At the script and location scouting stage, though, legal issues stopped all Bond proceedings; by which time Dalton had ruled himself out and Pierce Brosnan had ruled himself in. Shame. Dalton never got the chance to properly prove himself as 007 (he was a great, brooding, flesh-and-blood Bond if not that brilliant with a one-liner) and, by all accounts, The Property of a Lady was going to feature some sumptuous Far Eastern locations. Its the Bond that was meant to be but never was; and, at the time, John Die Hard McTiernan was on a role as a director, and adept at incorporating big action with nerve-shredding suspense. Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Casino Royale (1999) Directed by Quentin Tarantino Quentin Tarantino talked about filming Ian Flemings first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, as early as 1997, just after he had made Jackie Brown. If Tarantino had done it, he told Charlie Rose, he would have kept Pierce Brosnan as Bond after Tomorrow Never Dies and cast Samuel L. Jackson as Felix Leiter. The movie would have been true to the original Ian Fleming novel, with a Bond voice-over and none of the quirks that the movies had brought to the Bond character (i.e. no John Barry soundtrack). In Quentins bloody hands, it could well have been the first Bond movie with an 18 certificate, alienating a fair-sized portion of Bonds target audience. Still, the torture scene where Le Chiffre sets about Bonds nether regions with a carpet beater (switched to a length of knotted rope in the later Craig movie) would have made memorably nasty viewing although probably not on a par with Mr Blondes ear-slicing antics, thankfully. James Purefoy as James Bond in You Only Live Twice (2013) Directed by Ridley Scott You Only Live Twice is a beautifully strange novel: ethereal, emotional, poetic even surreal. In it, a fragile Bond, distraught after his wifes death at the hands of Blofeld and Irma Bunt, goes on a mission to Japan. There he is invited to kill Guntram Shatterhand, who is seemingly enticing people to commit suicide in an exotic garden of death. Shatterhand turns out to be Blofeld; but at no point are there any hollowed out volcanoes or space capsules being swallowed up by rockets, and Bond ends the story with amnesia, believing himself to be a local fisherman. His lover, Kissy Suzuki, does not tell him she is pregnant with his child and he finally leaves her to go to Vladivostok, to find out who he really is. Yup. Goldfinger it aint. In fact, the novel is mostly travelogue with a burst of action at the end (so this would be like no Bond movie weve ever seen). For literary 007 fans, however, a straightforward interpretation of this bizarre tale would be nirvana especially if someone with the acting chops of James Purefoy strapped on Bonds shoulder holster. Purefoy did chat to the Bond producers about the possibility of playing 007 but (he told the Sunday Times) knew the jig was up when, mid-interview, realised he was swinging his legs backwards and forward like an excited child. He also said the producers probably thought of him as Pierce Brosnan lite. We beg to differ. Not only does Purefoy have the right look, but his thesp credentials are impeccable (although hed have to get on with it: hes 48 this year). Oh and whats that, you say? Mark Strong as Blofeld? Oh, all right then. And who better to up the visual impact than Ridley Scott in the directors chair? Sadly, as John Barry isnt around to write the music score, well be going with David Arnold, thank you very much. Michael Fassbender as James Bond in Live and Let Die (2014) Directed by: JJ Abrams Is Michael Fassbender a shoo-in for JB when Craig steps out of 007s hand-stitched loafers? Not necessarily, but he is named as a likely successor and would be the first red-head to nab the role (although Sir Rogs barnet was looking increasingly auburn in his twilight years). Live and Let Die was Flemings second novel; and while Sir Rogs 1973 movie took elements of the original storyline, it also jettisoned quite a lot of the best bits, crow-barring them back into later movies (For Your Eyes Only and Licence to Kill). What we need, we reckon, is the formula done right: a tough, no-nonsense version of Live and Let Die which captures the essence of the Fleming original and, for that, we need a tough, no-nonsense actor and a fearless action writer-director who can dazzle with his visuals. Step forward Michael Fassbender and JJ Abrams. Jon Hamm as James Bond in Colonel Sun (2014) Directed by: James Cameron Yes, we know. John Hamm was, the last time we looked, an American and therefore a casting no-no for some fans. But he also, the last time we looked, resembled the literary 007 to a T. (Daniel Craig is a fantastic actor and a thumpingly physical Bond; but in the looks department, he isnt Flemings 007). Now, just supposing Hamm could do a polished Brit accent. Wouldnt he make a perfect Bond? (We do admit that Hamm is so identified with the all-American Don Draper role in Mad Men that this might be more of a problem than we think). And why Colonel Sun? Basically because its top-notch the very first continuation novel (by Robert Markham, aka Kingsley Amis) and easily the best, even surpassing Flemings weaker books (the name Colonel Moon was plundered for the lamentable Die Another Day). Forget the pale imitations of recent 007 books Devil May Care and Carte Blanche the Bond of Colonel Sun is the real deal. Its a great title, too. And James Cameron? Well, hes already made a fast-paced Bond movie, except he called it True Lies and cast Arnold Schwarzenegger, but we forgive him for that. And, budget-wise, nobody does it better than Mr Avatar. Daniel Craig as James Bond in On Her Majestys Secret Service (2014) Directed by Christopher Nolan Love him or hate him as 007, Daniel Craig is credited with reinvigorating the Bond series and has the star pulling power to entice big splashy names into the directors chair (Sam Mendes for Skyfall, for goodness sake). So how about taking one of the best Bond novels oh, say, On Her Majestys Secret Service and giving it to a director who loves the original movie so much that he even paid homage to it in his blockbuster, Inception (indeed, Nolan says OHMSS is his favourite 007 movie). Nolan is a writer-director who can helm fabulous action sequences, produce an intelligent screenplay and get great performances from his cast. And as this is the most underrated Bond film of the lot with a febrile emotional story at its core it makes sense for him to do it. Like, next, for Bond 24. Please. It almost certainly wont happen, but it would be very good if it did. Henry Cavill as James Bond in The Property of a Lady (2016) Directed by: Paul Greengrass Now this one COULD happen. Henry Cavill was in the running for Bond back in 2006 but was considered to be too young and ditched in favour of Craig. In 2016, though, with Craig having finished his fourth movie and knocking on 50, Cavill could be back in with a chance. Trouble is, hes now playing Superman. Has Henry shot his screen hero bolt too soon? Greengrass, meanwhile, is a fantastic action and actor director; but if hed have to hold the shakycam steady. This is Bond, not Bourne which was half the problem with Quantum of Solace. But Cavill and Greengrass? By 2016, this could be an irresistible combination.