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James Bond casting director breaks down intense process for 007

Debbie McWilliams shares the rigorous casting process used for choosing the next James Bond actor

Daniel Craig as James Bond

During a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly for the upcoming James Bond movie, No Time to Die, casting director, Debbie McWilliams discussed the “rigorous” process of picking an actor to play agent 007. She says finding the perfect star for the part takes a considerable amount of time, and multiple people are involved.

James Bond is the iconic character from Ian Fleming’s 1953 book series, and not everyone has what it takes to embody him on the big screen. Previously he has been portrayed by the likes of Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and most recently, Daniel Craig. McWilliams – who has cast more than ten Bond films – revealed that when it comes to casting for the hit spy movie franchise, strict criteria have to be met before anyone is considered for the part.

“It’s somebody who can hold their own, who is attractive, physical, capable of taking on not just the part but all the razzmatazz that goes with it,” she explains. “It’s quite a tall order, and it can live on with somebody for long after they’ve played the part, although I think it’s not so defining now as it used to be.”

McWilliams described how the potential Bond actors must do a physical test along with a screen test in a process that can last for days. “It’s a pretty rigorous process, it goes on for quite a considerable time. Lots of people are considered and then rejected for one reason or another,” the casting director shares. “Then it comes down to two or three choices, and those people usually have to do a screen test, they have to do a stunt assessment, and they have to meet everybody.”

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“It’s a committee decision between the producers, the studio, and the director, but it’s usually very much down to the Broccoli family [who run Eon Productions, the company that produces the James Bond film series],” she continued. “They’re pretty much in control. But I don’t think they’ve ever cast someone who the studio absolutely didn’t want them to cast. It’s not something that happens overnight, shall we say.”

No Time to Die is the next Bond flick scheduled to hit the big screen. In it, Daniel Craig will return to take on the role of the famous MI6 agent. However, the thriller movie will be his last appearance as Bond. Currently, there is no firm confirmation on who will play the character next. Stay tuned for updates.

No Time to Die is scheduled to release in the UK on September 30, and on October 8 in the USA.