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Jack O'Connell is the perfect fit to be the next James Bond

Jess Hardiman

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Jack O'Connell is the perfect fit to be the next James Bond

Now that Daniel Craig has hung up the tuxedo, the search for the next James Bond is on – and fans of Steven Knight’s new drama SAS Rogue Heroes think they know just the right person.

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Craig made his final appearance as 007 in No Time to Die, having played the beloved M16 agent for more than 15 years.

Ever since the actor announced he’d be stepping down, everyone from Idris Elba to Tom Hiddleston has been rumoured to take over, but almost every suggestion has often come and gone faster than you can say ‘shaken, not stirred’.

Now there’s a new favourite, and this time, it’s a name that actually fits the producers’ perfect criteria.

Viewers of SAS Rogue Heroes, which launched on BBC One last month, think Jack O’Connell would be a perfect match after seeing him in action as real life war hero Paddy Mayne, who joined the Special Air Service (SAS) at the age of 25 in 1941, having been recruited from a prison cell.

Jack O'Connell as Paddy Mayne in SAS Rogue Heroes. Credit: BBC
Jack O'Connell as Paddy Mayne in SAS Rogue Heroes. Credit: BBC

One fan of the show tweeted: "@mgmstudios Can you please ask Barbara Broccoli to check out Jack O'Connell's performance in SAS Rogue Heroes as Paddy Mayne. Immense performance and brilliant actor, he would be a brilliant James Bond. Right age for a 15 year ish stint too!!"

Someone else wrote: "Still think Jack O'Connell should be in the running to be the next James Bond #SASRogueHeroes."

A third said: "I reckon given his talent Jack O’Connell would be a good bet for the next James Bond."

And it turns out the idea isn’t that far-fetched; last month, producer Michael G Wilson shared what he felt was required for the role.

O'Connell last year. Credit: Matt Crossick/Alamy Stock Photo
O'Connell last year. Credit: Matt Crossick/Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking during an event at London’s British Film Institute to celebrate 60 years of James Bond, he said: “We’ve tried looking at younger people in the past. But trying to visualise it doesn’t work.”

He continued: “Remember, Bond’s already a veteran. He’s had some experience. He’s a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He’s probably been in the SAS or something. He isn’t some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off. That’s why it works for a thirty-something.”

O’Connell, you may have noticed, is indeed a ‘thirty-something’ – 32, to be precise.

While he hasn’t been in the SAS himself, he also has an edge by already having experience of playing someone who has.

He has also previously said he'd '100 percent' be up for it, even if he wasn't confident it was something that would ever happen.

The actor was previously known for featuring as James Cook in Skins, along with other credits in the likes of This is England, Eden Lake, ‘71 and, more recently, BBC miniseries The North Water.

O'Connell in The North Water. Credit: BBC
O'Connell in The North Water. Credit: BBC

Back in 2016, he was asked by Vogue if he would want to take on the character, to which O'Connell replied: “100 percent, but I don't think it's realistic.”

Talking about what he’d bring to the part, he added: “I'd definitely not try and portray him with a Derby accent, I wouldn't have the audacity.

“I would make sure that if you were watching you would think, 'Yeah this guy is going to save the world.'

“I'd have a cracking suit and I'd get in shape. I would make myself triple hard so you knew if it went down, you could trust in James.”

Watch SAS Rogue Heroes on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. The whole series is also available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Featured Image Credit: Awakening/ Alamy/ MGM

Topics: TV and Film, Celebrity, James Bond

Jess Hardiman
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