The James Bond producers insists that the next 007 will be at least in his thirties, but may we suggest that they’re overlooking a perfect candidate in 25-year-old Harry Lawtey, currently licensed to kill it on HBO’s beguiling Industry? But don’t take our word for it: The creators of Industry agree.
If you haven’t fallen under the spell of HBO’s Industry, imagine Succession crossed with Euphoria. It follows a crew of London twenty-somethings, led by Myha’la Herrold as the charmingly devious Harper Stern, as they snort, pop and sext their way through the world of finance. They act despicably at times, and sweetly at others, but we remain on their side because they’re young and have time to learn from their countless mistakes. In the show’s very first episode, Stern calls one of her co-workers, Robert Spearing (played by Lawtey), a “snacc.” Her soon-to-be frenemy Jasmine (Marisa Abela) noncommitedly replies, “if you like that sort of thing.” So begins a love (or is it lust) triangle between the three of them.
What makes Lawtey such a Bond for our age is his striking range: He can wear a tux, sure, but also manage repartee, frequent sex scenes, and hangdog defeat. He and Jasmine work out at the same gym, and while he’s not as buff and grizzled as the last Bond, Daniel Craig, he certainly knows his way around the weights and cardio machines. He looks like someone who could throw a punch, but not indestructible — audiences might genuinely worry about him from time to time, the way we did with the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan Bonds. Robert can drink, a lot, but we also see him hungover, a lot. Everything about him is ambiguous and amorphous: His motives, his feelings, his sexuality.
Lawtey could bring back something Bond hasn’t really had in the Craig years: coming across as a real, vulnerable human being, and not just a mechanized deliverer of karate chops, one-liners and wristwatch advertising. He could have the Indiana Jones quality of constantly teetering between cool victory and nasty defeat. His character on Industry has to survive solely on his looks, charm and wits, and they often fail him.
But Robert’s most Bond-like quality is a bemused fatalism — a willingness to take incredible risks as if it’s all the same to him, really, if he lives or dies. Bond has a bit of a sociopathic vibe, like someone who is as good as he is at dispensing enemies because he treats it all as a game. He understands this about himself, and it saddens him, sometimes, but there’s always another martini or Bond girl to keep those thoughts at bay.
When an Industry fan (okay, fine, it was me) tweeted today that Harry Lawtey would be a good Bond, he was delighted to see that the two co-creators of Industry agree. One, Mickey Down, retweeted the endorsement, and the other, Konrad Kay, opined, “He would be superb.”
He would be superb.
— Konrad Kay (@konradmkay) October 4, 2022
Unfortunately, it may not be in the cards. James Bond producer Michael G. Wilson, who runs Eon Productions with Barbara Broccoli, said in an interview with Deadline that Bond needs to be in his thirties.
”We’ve tried looking at younger people in the past. But trying to visualize it doesn’t work. Remember, Bond’s already a veteran. He’s had some experience. He’s a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He’s probably been in the SAS or something. He isn’t some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off. That’s why it works for a thirty-something,” Wilson told Deadline.
Okay, but: Really? The producers have already nixed the idea of a female Bond, and the best hope of a Black Bond — Idris Elba — now seems dashed. Is a young Bond really so hard to envision? Doesn’t anyone want to know how Bond became Bond?
Of course, the producers have also said the next Bond movie is a bit off — and Harry Lawtey will be 30 in a mere five years.
Main image: Harry Lawtey on Industry.