Now Hiring: Bond Villains Galore – By David Stephenson

 Bond villains are the coolest thing ever to happen in cinema history. Ever. Admit it – you know I’m right. Their coolness is of such a scale that if it had mass, it would block out the sun forever, casting the world into eternal darkness. The world needs more Bond villains. It’s a known fact.

With the release of Casino Royale in 2006, the world’s been once again whipped into a testosterone-driven frenzy over James Bond, the coolest spy from the coolest country on Earth. Bond is quite rightly the coolest character ever to show his muscular frame on the big screen. Luke Skywalker was a pussy. Rocky Balboa was an asshole. Indiana Jones probably had a vagina. Harry Potter – don’t even get me started. Bond’s the real deal, the big kahuna, the main man – and anyone who disagrees is obviously just envious of the size of his… pistol. The best thing of all? He’s British. And ever since Ian Fleming first put pen to paper and invented the coolest cat in spytown, the whole world’s been green with envy – Casino Royale just rubs people’s face in it.

Recently I was on MSN Messenger basking in my own greatness and bragging to some anonymous fuckwit about how great Britain is. He was from America (like most of you reading this) and honestly couldn’t see what the big deal is. "What’s the fuss?" said Mr Fuckwit "Besides, what have you Brits ever done for us? Name one thing that you Brits have invented that actually matters." I thought for a millisecond. I then unleashed my verbal asshole-tearing by reminding him about Bond, Bond Villains, and how the closest thing anywhere else in the world has to that is… Mel Gibson (oh dear.) His inane banter went on for a little while as Mr Fuckwit scrabbled to change the subject. Clearly panicking, he came out with an odd statement, claiming that Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen’s La Chiffre is the coolest Bond Villain ever. The goon.

And that got me thinking… All of Hollywood seems to have an obsession with making the bad guys in action movies British. (Because, as you all know, us Brits all own a mountain fortress with a piranha pit and laserbeam death chamber.) The fact that they’re importing baddies for Bond these days, however, seems strange considering the amount of home-grown talent we have.

But who would make a good Bond villain? Which of our home-grown actors could best perplex the world’s most famous Martini drinker? So for your amusement, lucky readers, I decided to find out…

Sir Ian McKellen

The obvious choice. Not only is the man a master of the performance arts, but he’s also extremely famous, highly praised, and already a familiar name in households worldwide. When it comes to playing an evil, sinister mastermind hell-bend on world domination (is there any other kind?) few could do it better than this man. When it comes to donning the role of the evil genius bad guy, this guy’s tailor-made. It’s like God put this man specifically on this Earth to scare the living crap out of children. Think about it – what films do you know him from? How about the Da Vinci Code in which he played an evil genius bad guy? How about the X-Men trilogy in which he played an evil genius bad guy? The only exception is The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, where he actually played a force for good – the only difference is that Gandalf has enough funky magic powers to take over the world if he felt like it. He was just way too busy stroking his massive grey beard and getting it on with the Hobbits.

Brian Cox

Rather than getting some ‘rising star’ in as our seminal baddy, then holding back the urge to projectile vomit throughout a performance that makes even our ancestors weep, how about those Bond producers actually hire somebody who can act? Brian Cox more than amply fits the bill for this – not only has he stunned the world with great bad guy performances in Troy, X-Men 2, Manhunter and The Bourne Supremancy (all of which kicked more ass than an army off pissed off ninjas) – he’s also been awarded more accolades than God. A few, just to give you a taste – He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1985 for "Rat in the Skull" and again in 1989 for "Titus Andronicus". He was awarded the 1984 London Critics Circle Theatre Award for his performances Strange Interlude, stopping just long enough to catch his breath to win the award again 1987. There’s no doubting he’d be good enough, and his rise to fame since the 90’s has come about because of his skill in playing memorably evil, dastardly types. He’d look good in a long overcoat and an eye patch, with an army of Nazi stormtroopers behind him. Combine with your usual lightning storms and mysterious castle, and you’re on to a winner.

Gabriel Byrne

In comparison to the aforementioned Brian Cox, this guy’s acting accolades are no match. It’s like a contrast between Mohammad Ali and Bill Gates (now there’s a fight I’d pay to see.) However, many lesser men have leapt into the role of Nasty Arch-nemesis Evildoer and come out shining (isn’t that right, Sean Bean?) So the fact that this man’s made about as much impact on the world of acting as a fly taking a shit on the side of a battleship is unimportant. What qualifies him (in spades) is his ability to stare holes through even the most hardened of heroes, turning their valiant venires into butter and filling their underpants with chocolate pudding. Mmmm… lumpy. The role, the character, the script, the plot – all unimportant – they could make him a cross-dressing Benny Hill impersonator with facial herpes and a speech impediment for all it matters – all he’d have to do is lock those icy eyes of his onto you and you’d be done. His track record as a bad guy speaks for itself; he was, after all, the main reason that End Of Days was actually worth watching. If he can pull off Satan so convincingly, an evil dictator should be like baby-food in comparison.

Sir Michael Gambon

One of the most laid-back yet oddly sinister actors ever to emerge from our dull, rainy little rock of a country, Gambo has had many important roles in which to shake his stuff – a few films you may be familiar with include; Layer Cake, Gosford Park, Sleepy Hollow, The Insider, and a spate of movies concerning some bespectacled, magical shitcake called Harry something. Harry Pothead. Yes, that’s it. The man’s pure evil in a tin, and would excel in playing the cool, calculating arch-villain who’s always one step ahead of Bond – the kind who’s planned everything down the most remote detail. ‘But what if Bond comes absailing down the castle walls with a battalion of SAS?’ Not a problem – Gambo had those solar-powered FleshMauler KillCannons installed ages ago. ‘What if Bond somehow infiltrates the evil defenses?’ Phah! The piranha tank is ready and waiting! The promo interviews would be fun, too, given Gambo’s (self-admitted) tendency to make shit up when under questioning. Always ready to keep the media world on its toes, he’d be a great choice for a Bond Villain.


Sir Anthony Hopkins

Come on, folks – do I really have to spell this one out for you? Do I really have to tell you why Sir Anthony would make a really good bad guy? Do I really have to break it down for you as to why he’d play a great Evil Genius? Need I explain why he’d fit so perfectly into the shoes of a sinister criminal mastermind? Hmmm… okay then. For the slower members of our reading audiences out there (and anyone from Wales) here it is, nice and slow just for you: H-A-N-N-I-B-A-L L-E-C-T-E-R. Okay? You got that? HANNIBAL LECTER. THE MOST FAMOUS BAD GUY IN LITERARY CREATION. THE SCARIEST MASK-WEARING BASTARD EVER TO GET HIS TEETH INTO THE WORLD OF FILM (pun intended.) He’d be perfect – not only is his name big enough to promote the film on its own, but he’s also internationally renowned for playing the scariest evil maniac anyone can remember. (Yes – Hannibal could kick Darth Vader’s ass any day. Yes – Hannibal would trounce Ming The Merciless in seconds, renaming him Ming The Bitch for eternity.) He’s also an amazing actor, his accent is perfect, he looks perfect for the role, and he even reads scripts 250 times before agreeing to them. Tailor made.

Alan Rickman

Hey kids, can you say Die Hard? Given his famous role as the bad guy from arguably the greatest and most well-known action movie of all time, his suitability for the role of Dastardly Evildoer should be obvious. Given his general aura of menace he seems ideal – add that to his penchant for languages and his mastery of dialects / accents, he could even play every Bond fan’s favourite type of bad guy – the Inexplicably Racist Evil Foreigner Stereotype. Yes, the Cold War is long over (was it ever that ‘hot’ to begin with?) but still there’s plenty of scope of a tank-driving Soviet Warlord, probably re-packaged as a Stalinist sympathizer hell-bent on bringing back the glory days of the USSR (probably via the help of a few conveniently missing nuclear warheads.) That not blow your whistle? How about the Gloriously Evil Yet Slightly Perverted Aging Nazi General? He’d look good in that role, especially if coupled with a nasty scar, suspicious eyebrows and a rather dashing fleet of German World War II panzers. Heck, why not throw in a Howitzer too, for good measure? Bond can handle it! Besides, imaging the endless fun that would ensue…

John Hurt. Or William Hurt. Gosh darnit – why not Gary Oldman too?!

I’ve lumped these three extraordinary actors into the same section for a very good reason – they were all cloned from the same alpha-matter. No I’m not kidding – and I’m not crazy either before you start acting up. These three actors are all famous for portraying either sinister evil types or respectable Englishman types. They’re all of a similar age, a similar look, and a similar level of fame. And – most importantly – they’d all make kickass Bond Villains. Hell, given their immense similarities the powers that be could even work in a funky storyline whereby the 3 all play Bond Villains who are hell-bent on taking over the world after something went horribly wrong, probably during a covert cloning experiment, probably carried out by shifty scientific minions who’ve since gone missing in messy and mysterious circumstances (probably.) But which ‘evil’ superpower could be behind such a scheme? How about Russia? Or Germany? Japan? France? A terrifying prospect indeed…

Kiefer Sutherland

‘Eh?!’ I hear you baffled readers exclaim ‘Kiefer Sutherland? But he’s not even British! He’d be a crap Bond Villain!’ You’re wrong. Yes, Kiefer Sutherland is about as obvious a choice as Gwyneth Paltrow when it comes to picking people to fill the rocket-boots of the next Evil Baddy. But think about it – not only does he have a voice so cool it makes both men and women worldwide melt, swoon and rush to the store to buy lotion – but he’s also not a bad actor when the chips are down. He was lots of fun in The Lost Boys, where he got his licks in early as one of the most iconic evildoers of the 80’s. He also looks good in leather, as the aforementioned role proves. So what if his roles nowadays mainly consist of starchy, flag-saluting bloke-in-suit types? That’d be perfect for the Secret Agent Gone Rogue stereotype. How about the Shady, Expensive Suit-wearing European Businessman Selling Nuclear Secrets stereotype? Or the Mole Inside The Secret Service stereotype. Wait… he already did that one. Hmmm… But you know all that. But did you know he was born in England? In the year England won the World Cup no less? You didn’t did you? HA! I WIN! BECAUSE I RULE!

Brian Blessed

You’ve seen him in clad in skin-tight leather in Flash Gordon. You’ve seen him prancing about like a gay poodle during mating season countless times on TV (well, us Brits have, anyway.) He’s famous – a big name of both stage and acreen, and his accolades have won him many awards (probably.) Brian is most noted, however, for being the owner of the world’s loudest voice – audible from across even the most wide of oceans. The 1998 San Bernardino Earthquake wasn’t a quake at all – it was merely Brian Blessed choking on a Gummy Bear. And how about that beard? ‘Tis truly a wonder to behold – a wonder to rival the Great Wall Of China in its sheer scale and magnitude. Did you know that 15 different, previously uncharted species of WolfRat have been found in his forest-likefacial hair? You do now! So what if he’d make a shitty Bond Villain? He’d make ME laugh – and in the grand scheme of things, we all know that’s what really matters the most…

In Conclusion…

So there it is, folks – my list of people who could or should be the next Bond Villain. Did you have as much fun as I did? Are you astounded by the undeniable greatness of my choices? No? Screw you then.

Either way, let’s hope that the casting brains behind one of the biggest Hollywood franchises in history finally pull their hands out of their pockets and their heads out of their asses long enough to realise that with all the profits made on the shirt-tails of Mr Bond, they could at least splash out a bit and give us a Bond Baddy to be proud of.

It’s about time someone knocked Donald Pleasance off his high throne as the greatest Bond Villain ever. Until that day happens, however, I’ll be keeping my fingers, toes (and every other sticky-outy party of my body) crossed…