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I think this man should be the next 007

Like his blogging Highness, Glenn Reynolds, while I love the visual cleverness of Mad Men, the TV series, and the brilliance with which this show has caught the mood of the time, I find the series rather depressing. I mean, the guys who are portrayed as “having it all” in an age of heavy smoking, drinking in the workplace, womanising and the rest seem to be, a rather depressed bunch. It is a series that certainly plays to the stereotype of business as venal and zero-sum – which is what anti-capitalists like to think it is. But these guys and gals certainly knew how to dress snazzily for work.

But whatever one thinks of the sense of life communicated by the series, Jon Hamm, who plays the main character, Don Draper, is unquestionably a compelling actor who has created one of the most memorable characters in TV drama for a long time (he certainly seems to have quite an effect on this lady). It will be interesting to see what he does next.

A thought occurs to me: Hamm makes a potentially good James Bond and even looks more like the character of Mr Fleming’s books than Daniel Craig, even though the latter actor did a very good turn in Casino Royale.. But the last film, Quantum of Solace, while brilliant in its stunts, was awfully humourless and bereft of character development. And it would not be that big a shift to cast an American in the role: our Jim is an Anglosphere character, anyway.

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21 comments to I think this man should be the next 007

  • Bond has to be a completely plausible Brit… or he is not Bond. I have no idea if Jon Hamm could do that.

  • Jonathan, I was actually considering e-mailing you to thank you for tipping me off to Mad Men. Yes, depressing and all, but an excellent and highly original drama. The period aesthetics are just the icing.

    But the last film, Quantum of Solace, while brilliant in its stunts, was awfully humourless and bereft of character development.

    Blame it on the script that Craig had to work with. Craig is the best Bond ever for my taste, because he is the most attractive (not the same as handsome, although he is very easy on the eyes as well). More importantly, he can actually act and is allowed to do so by the writers and the directors (although, like I said, less so in the last Bond).

    Hamm is extraordinarily handsome, but personally I don’t find him attractive at all: they guy is as stiff as a lamppost. It works well for Mad Men, but he would make a very dull Bond, IMO – unless in the series he is actually putting on an act, as it were.

  • Ostralion

    Yes, QofS lacked some humour, and could have had more girls in bikinis, but what it needed is some super gadgets! How can an agent-at-large cope without some techno-fix? By now, they’re an essential part of any Bond film! (And some clever titles would be good, some twist on a popular saying. “Easy Come, Easy Kill”?)

  • Hamm might be able to affect a decent British accent. I know of a couple of Brits who have done well on this side of the pond.

    I recall Tracy Ullman could do an American accent with ease (albeit only for a skit at a time) and Hugh Laurie does House with an American accent; I was surprised bordering on shocked to find that he was British.

  • kentuckyliz

    Just for fun:

    Make a Mad Men style image of yourself! You get to save the image and even a small avatar headshot for use on social networking sites.

    Fun 60s muzak in the background while working on building your art step by step. Have a martini.

    Mine looks amazingly like me and it’s my avatar and even my desktop on the lappie.

  • Stuart

    The Americans have their own icon issues.
    Hamm needs to be the next Superman.

  • William H Stoddard

    I quite liked the first season of Mad Men, which I’ve watched on rented DVD. I kept being struck by the allusions to Ayn Rand, and as I watched I figured out that she was not being thrown in at random: the references to her were, by synecdoche, references to business achievement and to the role of good business ethics in achievement. And, by extension, one of the show’s points is that there IS such a thing as good business ethics, even in an industry widely regarded as deceitful and corrupt. Mad Men gave us several characters who are cool and fascinating to watch partly because of their achievements in the business world; in today’s cultural climate that’s impressive.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    William, that is a very good point. I was struck by the number of references to Rand, and they were not sneering, either. Perhaps I was a bit harsh on the “sense of life” (to use a Randite expression) of the show.

    I must say that Don Draper, by appearance if not by his entire conduct, could come out of Atlas Shrugged. A sort of very flawed Hank Rearden.

  • Laird

    Mark Byron, I had the opposite problem with Hugh Laurie. I first came upon him in the terrific BBS series “Jeeves and Wooster” (based on the PG Wodehouse stories), where he played a wonderfully dimwitted Bertie Wooster (opposite an equally wonderful Stephen Fry as Jeeves). When he popped up in House I was flabbergasted by his American accent (and I still can’t accept “Bertie Wooster” as a brilliant doctor!).

  • Gene

    Hamm has been mentioned as an actor to play Vince Flynn’s character Mitch Rapp. A modern day CIA agent who despises liberals and terrorists equally.

  • I am a huge Fleming fan but only really care for the first half a dozen or so movies after which they moved so far away from the novels in plot and timeframe as to be something almost totally unrelated to the source material. The one thing I would like to see them do with the Bond films is acknowledge that the James Bond character is a product of a particular time and functions best in that setting.

    I find talk of being faithful to Fleming while making movies set 50 years later than the stories they are ostensibly based on frankly bizarre.

  • virgil xenophon

    The “sense of life” portrayed in Mad Men which Pearce finds so “depressing” is EXACTLY the condition of the times in the business world and the late 50s, early 60s which engendered works/commentaries of the time that took the form of books like “Tread-Mill to Oblivion.”

  • I find the series endlessly fascinating. It is absolutely character driven, which is exactly the way to frame a drama from an individualist perspective. There are no dogmas, no PC lip service, no background music and no camera tricks, and nothing is expected. Worth every minute.

  • Nuke Gray

    No, No, NOT Perry!!!!
    His Bond would shoot ‘M’ for giving orders, and promise to help the villain if he really would wipe out the government!!!

  • Laird

    If that’s true, I second the nomination!

  • Nuke Gray

    But Perry’s Bond would not be Bond as we know him. From the novels, Bond is a bit of a homicidal maniac, with a licence (an early Judge Dredd, dishing out instant justice). Could Perry hand out on-the-spot sentences? Is he an expert marksman? Does he look good in a suit?

  • He knows how to use an assault rifle .

    Adriana would make a charming Moneypenny.

    Ken Livingstone could be Blofeld.

  • BTW, not that I’m tired of Craig, but Jason Statham would make an awesome Bond, with Clive Owen as a (now distant) runner-up. Sorry Perry. All the doors are open for Adriana though, as far as I can see. Come to think of it, is there a female equivalent to Bond?

  • Paul Marks

    There was a good article at the Ludwig Von Mises blog on this show (as most of you know I am too dumb to know how to how to do links).

    It argued that the show had a propaganda agenda – to get people to like the modern, statist, society and despise the past.

    I do not know for sure as I have seen a whole show – seeing a few ads for the show was enough for me.

    “Businessmen shown being dishonourable and hollow in their mad pursuit of money – and, of course, sexist and (horror of horrors) smoking. Typical leftist agitprop”.

    So I did not bother to watch the show.

  • Alisa: The nearest thing to a female Bond equivalent I can think of would be the comic strip and novel character Modesty Blaise.