The other day, I was looking at this ITV list titled “10 actors who could be the next James Bond,” and I fell asleep. I literally collapsed at my desk and took a nap.
Mind you, their picks for Daniel Craig’s successor are realistic: Idris Elba, Damian Lewis and Tom Hardy were all favorite choices for the U.K. bookmakers as of the summer, and Michael Fassbender seems like a reasonably debonair 007. The smart money’s on Elba, and who wouldn’t want to watch Stringer Bell outsmart bad guys again? However, on the other hand, come on. Henry Cavill? Rupert Friend? That guy from The Avengers? If anyone reading this is PUMPED by the news that James McAvoy might play James Bond, then this post is clearly not designed for you.
The answer is simple, and you might have guessed it by reading the headline: Rihanna should be the next Bond. There should be five Bond movies — at least five Bond movies! — starring Rihanna, because every one of those movies could feasibly go as hard than the “Hard” music video, and thus be essential.
Some of you have concerns. I understand that. Let’s address the biggest one: Rihanna’s acting skills. Maybe you saw 2012’s Battleship, and maybe you felt some mixed feelings. Again, understandable. My counter is: James Bond has historically not been portrayed by legendary actors. Only one Bond, Sean Connery, has ever been nominated for an Oscar (although Timothy Dalton should have gotten some shine for 1997’s The Beautician and the Beast), and dudes like Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan have had forgettable careers outside of the tuxedo. Daniel Craig will likely snag some Academy love before he hangs it up, but he was also in Cowboys & Aliens, which was no better than Battleship. And where’s his incredible pop single to justify that one?
Perhaps you are also concerned that Rihanna is not British. Okay, who cares?
Finally, you are probably throwing your hands up at the idea of a Barbadian female taking over a beloved franchise that has always been headlined by white males. Oh, dear. Whatever will the general population do with only 24 James Bond films starring straight white dudes to consume? A different-looking Bond would probably cause Earth’s core to explode and mass human extinction, I guess! At the very least, assorted tables will be flipped over at varying speeds by Internet fanboys.
James Bond is not a specific nationality, color or gender, even if those qualities have been uniform over the past five decades. Bond is a sensation of effortless cool, a pristine combination of sophistication, physical strength and good looks. The character has resonated across various iterations because everyone wants to be him, or be with him. In 2015, Rihanna is most worthy of that type of worship. Rihanna is unrelentingly cool.
“"Rihanna’s already showcased her visual power in dozens of music videos; there’s no way a feature film of her doing the same, this time as an unstoppable secret agent, could fail."”
Currently, Rihanna’s state of coolness is amplified by the fact that it has little to do with her musical output. It’s been nearly three years since the release of her last album, Unapologetic, and in that time, her status as a fashion icon, in-demand spokesperson, savvy businesswoman and killer social media presence have all been underlined. Her recent interview with the New York Times Styles Magazine confirmed what most people already knew: Rihanna is a passionate, forward-thinking, deeply thoughtful artist, and a great hang. She’s relatable and unattainable; she Googles random stuff, but also wants to save the world. Even if “Bitch Better Have My Money” and “American Oxygen” aren’t your 2015 jams, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s been paying attention and doesn’t see Rihanna as a personality worth getting invested in and admiring.
Imagine a world in which Rihanna could star in a Bond movie (let’s call it a Jane Bond movie, or maybe just a Rihanna Bond movie, because whatever). Imagine watching her wear the coolest clothes, drive the coolest cars, beat up bad guys with ease and seduce good-looking dudes with even more ease. Imagine Rihanna shooting a huge gun and then Instagramming a perfect selfie with it, her natural IDGAF attitude on full display. It’s not that difficult to imagine, right? She’s already showcased her visual power in dozens of music videos; there’s no way a feature film of her doing the same, this time as an unstoppable secret agent, could fail. Hell, the “Bitch Better Have My Money” video was basically a movie, and that still has us returning to YouTube.
Look, I understand change is hard—but sometimes, change is necessary, even when it’s not apparent. It was apparent for the Bond films in the mid-00’s, when the cartoonish antics of the Brosnan era short-circuited with Die Another Day; Craig was brought in, cues were taken from Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot, the series became grittier and was given new life. The Bond series is in no real need of a facelift with Craig’s fourth film, Spectre, arriving next month, but how many more times can we have a guy in a tuxedo get replaced by a similar-looking guy in a tuxedo before the formula turns stale? Why not switch things up, just a little bit?
So let’s make it happen. Rihanna as the next Bond, kicking all kinds of ass, smoking blunts, driving too fast, objectifying guys, singing the next theme song herself. To me, that's a no-lose situation. Let’s make the next Bond the ANTI hero.