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We have seen many actors playing "James Bond". So is there any criteria that actor has to fill in order to be James bond.

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    I doubt there are any rules that are set in stone. It really depends on what the producers are looking for at any point of time. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 19:59
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    Historically speaking, all of the previous actors are white and British. Nowadays, who the hell knows.
    – user7812
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 20:31
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    Has to look good in a tux? ;)
    – Walt
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 20:31
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    @Richard Uh, it seems at least a third of them wasn't.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:38
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    @NapoleonWilson - So just white then really.
    – user7812
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:40

3 Answers 3

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Short answer: yes.

So far, the James Bonds we have seen are all quite similar: white, British (see Edit) and can fit the persona of James Bond (physically fit and good-looking).

Coming from Britain is probably an important aspect, as the character and franchise are quintessentially British. It is therefore easier to embody the mannerisms of such a character, as well as the fact audiences may dislike a non-brit playing the character.

However, all of the James Bond actors prior to Daniel Craig were brunette, and he is clearly blonde, so in terms of more specific features it is unlikely to be such an issue. Some people contend that James Bond should not have a different ethnicity, but as it is set in modern day I don't think it should be an issue for the character.

Having different characters playing James Bond, whilst having a continuous supporting cast acting alongside these different actors without batting an eyelid at their change of appearance has now foregone any semblance of continuity for the movie character, so apart from being male I can't see there being any additional restrictions for an actor playing the role.

Out of universe, playing James Bond is a big commitment. The actor will likely sign up for multiple films when they take the role, so they need to be prepared to put aside a lot of time for many years, restricting their opportunity to be in other films. Having conflicting commitments for other films might mean they miss out on the chance.

As an added bit of trivia, any person contracted to play James Bond cannot appear in any other movie wearing a tuxedo during their tenure as Bond. Again, if this conflicts with other roles the actor has already accepted then they would be unlikely to be accepted for the part.

Edit: My apologies, I was wrong about the nationalities (credit goes to Napoleon for pointing it out). I thought Pierce Brosnan was Northern Irish, thus originating from within the UK, but he is from Ireland. However he moved to England at a young age, so that probably worked in his favour. And George Lazenby was Australian, but he was only in a single James Bond movie before Sean Connery once again assumed the mantle, which sort of proves the point that people prefer a British bond.

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  • "any person contracted to play James Bond cannot appear in any other movie wearing a tuxedo during their tenure as Bond." - Wow, that's indeed weird. Do have a source for that?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 13:59
  • @NapoleonWilson I heard the fact on a radio interview that Daniel Craig did for BBC Radio 1 Breakfast, however I can't find a written source for the comment. It wasn't specified how long that had been a contractual obligation, but he did mention that both he and his predecessor Pierce Brosnan had that restriction, so I would assume it would apply for the next person to play James Bond. Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:17
  • @Mike.C.Ford: I dont wont to be fussy, but maybe you can also add in your edit Barry Nelson, who is American and played Bond in an early TV-Movie/Series (1954). But this was before the Bond-franchise we know today was started , so i guess this fact is not that much important.
    – kl78
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:38
  • @kl78 It doesn't seem that important, since it's not the "official" EON-produced line. For that matter there would maybe also be the 1967 parody Casino Royale to consider.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:44
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    @NapoleonWilson In one scene from The Thomas Crown Affair, Pierce Brosnan's character wears a suit with an unbuttoned shirt and an untied bowtie, to not violate this rule. bondsuits.com/thomas-crown-affair-dinner-suit-wasnt-allowed
    – Kruga
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 8:07
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Yes.

  • they have to be available to film
  • they have to be affordable
  • they have to please the powers-that-be (typically the producers)

But that's true of pretty much any role. I don't think there's anything particular to James Bond other than the actor usually has to fit into a rough stereotypical box (handsome, athletic, looks good in a suit...). Though fortunately those stereotypical boxes are become less and less of a requirement in general.

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  • I'm downvoting because as the other answer indicates, it does seem that that there are de facto requirements. It's more than "have to please the powers that be". Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 6:52
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    @thunderforge those aren't de facto standards...just a recap of past bond descriptions...which aren't necessarily direct indicators of future bonds.
    – DA.
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 11:38
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There was a couple of un written rules for the actors who played james up until the casting of Daniel Craig. They had to be brunettes They had to be British (one exceptional) And most if not all of them were at least 1,85 m tall. But as we now know those rules doesn't apply anymore.

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    any reference for this claim? at best it seems anecdotal. Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 17:48
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    Two of the previous ones weren't British at all, though. And where do you base those claims on?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 18:55

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