With industry speculation about the latest 007 vehicle, “Spectre,” being the last round for Daniel Craig, it’s a good time to rethink the whole James Bond persona. Does he have to be white? Does he have to wear those bespoke suits? Does he really need to have a British accent? Well, the accent might matter when some red-hot spy babe sidles up to him and asks his name: “Bond. James Bond” … and, cue the swoon. On that note, does he have to be a guy?
Bond has always been more about pedigree than muscle. He’s less interested in saving the world as he is about doing his duty to the Queen.
This Christmas, though, I’m dreaming about a Japanese “Bondo-san.” The bar is sky high: He needs to wear a tuxedo like a second skin, get in fist fights with thugs on train cars and romance any potential “Bond girls” with a dance and a steamy shower scene. This immediately eliminates more than 90 percent of the domestic acting corp.
For example, Hiroshi Abe has the height and build needed for those bespoke suits, but his chemistry with women on screen is dismal. Osamu Mukai has the looks, but rumor has it the Meiji University graduate doesn’t speak a word of English and has two left feet. Yusuke Iseya went to grad school in New York and can hold his own on the dance floor, but he’s more indie movie material. Joe Odagiri looks mighty uncomfortable around blondes (see “Big River”) and Takumi Saito is widely acknowledged as a ladies’ man, but comes off like a self-obsessed man child.
That leaves us with one remaining option: Masaharu Fukuyama. The 46-year-old’s recent marriage spawned a phenomenon known as “Fukuyama Loss” among women who realized they’d lost their “chance.” He played samurai Sakamoto Ryoma in the 2010 NHK taiga drama, and to the Japanese, Ryoma is much more of a hero than Bond. Fukuyama is also known for being nice to his mom, which resonates with 007’s Oedipus complex (see “Skyfall”).
So there you have it: Fukuyama for Bond. Let’s get this done to coincide with an adventure at the 2020 Olympics.
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