There have been many portrayals of Ian Fleming on screen at this point with varying success; but has anyone ever nailed it? Will anyone ever be able to? After the recent lackluster and frankly inaccurate interpretation ‘Fleming‘, patience is running out and Fleming fans must be concerned about the likelihood of seeing him again for some time. Charles Dance was most convincing in the little-seen 1989 version ‘Goldeneye‘ – perhaps it was 20 years too early?
Whether a TV series of film, here is our list of potentially capable actors to play Commander Fleming:
1. Tom Hiddleston
Followers of literary Bond might remember that Tom read Octopussy and The Living Daylights for the recent audiobook series. An Eton-educated man with mellifluous tones, he’s many people’s top choice and well-known to American audiences for his turn as top villain Loki in the Avengers franchise.
He could bring some star power without being overwhelming.
2. Eddie Redmayne
The man of the moment after scooping an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; Redmayne could certainly play a young Ian, perhaps at Eton, his Kitzbuhel years and even into the City. Redmayne, like his friend Hiddleston went to Eton, so he would be quite at home.
A double-hander with an older actor playing Fleming later in life looking back on those years could be a nice take on it.
3. Geoffrey Rush
Rush is probably the closest looking actor to Fleming. Even a doppelganger on first blush. The slightly ruddy complexion and weathered face along with his form in films such as the Tailor of Panama and The King’s Speech, put him very high on many people’s list at least to play the older Fleming.
Has his chance passed him by though?
4. Mark Gatiss
A lifelong Bond fan, writer and actor Gatiss is most known for writing the recent Sherlock and Dr. Who series. He also plays the debonair Mycroft Holmes brilliantly in Sherlock with sufficient mysteriousness and elitism .
He has Fleming’s height and a similar facial structure; his sensibilities as writer and actor could also be an advantage stepping into the Commander’s moccasins.
5. Benedict Cumberbatch
There has been talk for some while about BC playing Fleming in a version based upon Andrew Lycett’s biography, initially to be directed by David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones and concentrate primarily on his years of service in the Second World War. However, since April 2014, the rumors have gone cold.
6. Hugh Laurie
A dark horse but he would be a very shrewd choice. Hugh is surprisingly tall and can throw his voice to anything; his career-changing role in House proved he could play the curmudgeon, in addition to the upper class twit and even the sinister — see his portrayal as MI6 boss Jools Siviter in the TV series Spooks.
Whether his comedic reputation or House persona would loom too large, might be a reason he would not be considered.
7. Charles Dance
The script stayed true to Fleming’s life (based on John Pearson’s biography) without needing to be gussied up as a sort of proto-Bond. It also included very early performances by Christoph Waltz and Julian Fellowes.
8. Michael Chance
Michael is the most recent man to play the Commander, not on screen but on stage, in Mark Burgess’ one-man show entitled ‘The Man with the Golden Pen. Received with solid reviews, Michael nailed the feel of Fleming portraying him as he was about to be married. His performance was described as “An extremely stylish and entertaining piece, capturing the essence and spirit of Ian Fleming…” and “a monologue, adeptly delivered by Michael Chance of which we never seem to tire.”
Perhaps he should be given (ahem) a chance.
9. James D’Arcy
Recently on our screens playing suspected killer Lee Ashworth in the series Broadchurch, D’Arcy in fact has played Fleming before in 2011’s Age of Heroes, an interesting, but disappointing take on Fleming’s 30 AU Commando unit.
He does not quite the facial likeness to Fleming and is perhaps too good-looking; has he had his chance already?
10. Damian Lewis
A known Bond fan – he read the novel Diamonds Are Forever for the recent audiobooks – Lewis has the chameleon quality that would be need to capture the similar characteristics in Fleming and a similar upbringing: the son of wealthy City brokers in St. John’s Wood, Eton educated, even his maternal grandfather was Lord Mayor of London.
Does an actor with his CV even need to play Fleming?