It's a tough assignment to be alive and helpless right now. Many people are worried about a possible apocalypse, and I can't pretend the idea hasn't crossed my mind, too—especially late at night, when I'm forced to realize that Fear Factor has made it into syndication. But we all need our distractions while Rome burns, so when not obsessing over who's on top in the Pitt/Jolie master bedroom or wondering how many movie deals Katie Holmes can get under her chastity belt before pulling a runaway bride, I like to ponder the ultimate fantasy question concerning world (or at least London) security: When will James Bond come and save us?
Go ahead and laugh. Sure, I know, we depended on old James to ease our minds back when the Russians were scaring the crap out of us, but the last decade has found him looking mechanical and jokey and somewhat less than up-to- the-minute. Even putting Halle Berry in a bikini couldn't keep the yawns out of Die Another Day.
What's more, the poor guy hasn't had a proper enemy of late. Jonathan Pryce made a sneering baddie in Tomorrow Never Dies, the best of Bond's recent adventures, except that he made himself slightly sympathetic by offing Teri Hatcher, which everyone I know has been longing to do at least as far back as Lois & Clark. No, Bond has always needed to battle a completely repellent megalomaniac who harbors delusions of infallibility and an insatiable thirst for world domination. Sound like anyone you know? I hate to point fingers, so let's just say the man in question shares his father's name and lives in Dad's old place on Pennsylvania Avenue.
That solved, we can move on to recasting our hero. Personally, I thought Pierce Brosnan was a few birthdays and several jars of pomade too much for the role back in 1995. (Licensed to kill? Please. Licensed to sweep Melissa Gilbert off her feet on the Lifetime Channel, maybe.) And enough with the Heath Ledger/Colin Farrell/Iaon (Horatio Hornblower) Gruffud rumors—no baby Bonds allowed. (Give Ledger another 10 years or so, however, and you've got a deal.) Julian McMahon, that waxy-looking Nip/Tuckguy and Gruffud's co-star in Fantastic Four, is completely out of the question; his manicured eyebrows make even Roger Moore seem surly. Layer Cake gangster Daniel Craig is supposedly a front-runner; he's fierce, but I don't want to sleep with him, which is Rule No. 1 for anyone playing a professional assassin (see also: Smith, Mr. & Mrs., and Supremacy, The Bourne). Clive Owen, whose advances I've been spurning for several years out of respect for his wife, would be ideal, yet he says he'd refuse the role. I'd like to suggest Simon Baker, formerly of TV's The Guardian and currently languishing amongst the zombies of Land of the Dead—but no one listens to me.
Wanna play the OO7 game? Drop me an e-mail about what Bond would be best to bust Bush (try saying that three time fast), and I'll print the finer suggestions in a future column. In the meantime, don't let the numbing awfulness of world events keep you from feeling shaken and stirred.