Have you ever wondered how our many James Bonds were discovered and thrust into the spotlight of all spotlights? Considering I have a deep interest in casting, I have — so I was delighted to get a look inside casting director Debbie McWilliams' brain in an incredible interview she did with Entertainment Weekly published on September 14.
The casting pro has been working in the James Bond franchise for a whopping 30 years. She was brought on to cast 1981's "For Your Eyes Only" and has become the lady behind our favorite 007s, including Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and our reigning lead Daniel Craig.
Her practices for finding the perfect James are very interesting and intricate — and it's clear after all this time, she has her method down pat. Who doesn't love a woman who knows what she wants?
What To Look For When Casting A James Bond
"It's somebody who can hold their own," the casting director explained to the outlet, continuing:
"Who is attractive, physical, capable of taking on not just the part but all the razzmatazz that goes with it. 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. I think some people got very much stuck with it and others have managed, particularly if they've chosen good projects other than Bond, where they're seen as just a very good actor rather than just being James Bond."
Clearly, the innate charisma of the character is a huge benchmark in the casting process — but it makes sense, because that's arguably one of the most important parts of the spy's complicated persona.
What Goes Into A James Bond Audition?
Believe it or not, the role requires both an acting audition as well as a physical test of endurance. Hey, Bond's gotta be a badass, right? McWilliams explained:
"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. 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. 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]. 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."
Casting is a subtle art, kids. It takes focus and dedication, which McWilliams obviously has in spades considering the incredible talents she's brought to the franchise — and not just the role of Bond.
Is McWilliams Always Looking For The Next 007?
"Sort of maybe," the casting director joked about her quest to find the next Bond. "But until I'm hired and I'm paid for it... Obviously, one's keeping one's eyes open all the time. That's part of the job, just being aware of who's who and where they are in their career. It's going to be very, very hard I must say [to cast the next one]."
It's certainly going to be tough to follow Daniel Craig, who will be leaving some of the biggest shoes to fill when he exits the franchise after the upcoming "No Time to Die." But there's no doubt McWilliams will bring us another fresh that may be equally as divisive from the start — and someone we grow to really enjoy. After all, a good shaken-not-stirred casting could be fun.
Read this next: Here's Where You Can Stream Or Rent Every James Bond Movie
The post James Bond Casting Director Breaks Down How You Cast a New 007 appeared first on /Film.