Since Daniel Craig’s last bow as 007 in 2021’s No Time to Die, rumors have swirled about which actor will be assuming the James Bond mantle next. At the center of speculation is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who after a reported top secret meeting with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, is currently the odds-on favorite to play Bond, followed by fellow British actors James Norton and Henry Cavill.
But if one were to bet that Taylor-Johnson would acknowledge the buzz before an official announcement is made, they’d lose. During a recent Esquire interview completed prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, Taylor-Johnson redirected inquiries about what’s next to his upcoming role in Marvel’s Kraven the Hunter, which has been delayed from October 6 to August 30, 2024.
“You can’t step into this role, you can’t step into what this franchise is, with a fucking half-assed, Let’s see how it goes attitude,” Taylor-Johnson said of Kraven. “You have to be mentally prepared for what could come with that. I think I’m secure in my life now to know that I’m happy to deal with that. I don’t think I was probably ready to invite that into my life earlier on.”
When asked about the potential possibility of joining other major franchises such as Bond, Taylor-Johnson vaguely explained: “As I’ve already told you, I have to go by the beat of my own drum. It’s my own path, what feels intuitive to me. I’ve never made a decision based on other people’s perspectives, or their judgments, or their expectations. You lose your fucking mind if you do that. Your sense of worth and soul is gone. You need to understand what is integral to you and what feels right, and you’ve got to stay on track with what’s present in front of you. Kraven is what’s in front of me.”
When pressed about whether even the mere prospect of playing a character as iconic as 007 was “exciting to consider,” Taylor-Johnson insisted, “I just focus on the things I can have in my hands right now. What’s in front of me right now.” So, should it be assumed that Cavill is getting the role, as Esquire’s Alex Pappademas asked? “I mean, if you’re a betting man…” the actor simply replied.
Taylor-Johnson’s resistance to feed the rumor mill isn’t new. Speaking with Vanity Fair for our 2023 Hollywood cover, he called the Bond whispers “flattering,” but didn’t confirm or deny their validity. “You just want to stay in your lane, stay grounded, stay around the people that you love and love you back, and stay in that world,” Taylor-Johnson said. “Because the moment you start believing the shit people say about you, you’ve lost your fucking mind. You’ve lost it.”