Ryan Gosling is a damn treasure. This cannot be argued. He’s got those sparkling eyes and that mischievous smirk you can’t decide whether you want to smack or smooch. He seems like a committed dad to his two kids and partner to his equally gorgeous “lady” Eva Mendes. He manages to come off like a totally genuine friend, nay bro, to frequent collaborator Emma Stone without eliciting the on-set cheating rumours that plague so many chummy genetically blessed costars—now that’s talent. He even showed up to the Oscars dressed like Lloyd Christmas and somehow still looked smokin’. (Still confused about how that shirt made my mind say no but my heart… my heart.)
So yeah, he’s a talented, handsome gentleman with magical fashion powers. But James Bond, he is not. Nor should he try to be!
James Bond is not a nouveau hipster in an ironic ruffled shirt. James Bond isn’t meme-bait. James Bond is a MAN. And while I acknowledge that ascribing certain characteristics to gender can be problematic—and while I would like to grow old with Ryan Gosling—his level of manliness usually falls somewhere between brooding sulky artiste and accidentally hot barista. Gosling seems like he’d be a sensitive partner, always concerned about your needs. Which is great for a lasting marriage! But I don’t want to marry James Bond. I want to make out with him in an elevator and then wonder if he told me his real name, ya know?
And I’m not saying Gosling doesn’t have range as an actor. A bleach-blond travelling circus motorcycle-rider with stick-n-poke tattoos all over his angelic face? Absolutely. A bomber-clad getaway driver? Sure. An impeccably groomed but emotionally damaged Lothario? Obvs. But I don’t want to see my sweet Gosling do the job of a man-daddy like Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig.
This isn’t just about level of fitness or age. We all know from that unforgettable shirtless scene in Crazy, Stupid, Love that the Gos knows his way around a weight room when the role calls for it and while he has a youthful charm, at 36 it’s not like he’s a tween. But there’s a world-weary, almost weathered, maturity that Bond requires. And a legit English accent, IMO. Can you imagine our Gosling putting on a believable British lilt? Me neither.
My biggest beef with this kind of casting is it’s not the inspired, outside-the-box thinking the studio would like us to believe (“See? A sensitive James Bond—what imagination we have!”) It’s downright lazy. Gosling is beloved. He looks great in a tux. He’s clearly having a moment. And the studio bigwigs want a piece of that.
There’s only one future Bond in my book and that’s Idris Elba. Yes, a BOC (Bond of Colour) would make my heart soar and be just one waaaaaay overdue victory for diversity in film. And the other diverse options thrown around would also be absolutely badass—namely Gillian Anderson as a refreshing lady Bond—but have you seen Luther? Or The Wire or, hell, The Office, for that matter? Charles Miner has more Bond charm in his pinky toe than Gosling’s got in his whole beautiful bod. Elba is the only choice. Impossibly handsome. Debonair. Mysterious. Rough around the edges. Serious with a side of silly. In charge. And a little nuts deep down.
For Gosling, there will always be another delightful indie rom-com, whimsical modern musical or neo-noir actioner. And he’ll kill in those roles. But he’ll never be Bond and that’s totally okay.
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