Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù on James Bond rumours: ‘It’s the pinnacle of action roles’

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With the release of No Time to Die, Daniel Craig has played James Bond for the last time – and now everyone is wondering who his successor as 007 might be.

Asked whether he’d be interested in the role, Gangs of London star Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù smiles – it’s clearly not the first time the idea has been put to him. (At time of writing, Dìrísù is currently 16/1 odds to star as the secret agent next.)

“That question is going around a lot more recently, because No Time to Die has just come out,” he said while promoting new film Mothering Sunday. “[It] is an excellent film, I was really fortunate to get to go to the premiere of it, it was such a grand occasion.

“I really enjoy the rough and tumble of action sequences, and I try to do all of my own stunts. I think that the role of James Bond – wow – is the pinnacle of those things, you know?”

And, finally, part three! I asked Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù how he feels about being attached to James Bond, as well as any other roles/genres he’d like to play across his career. (He quite wants to do a sci-fi, which would be neat.)

I’ll be interested to see if he does end up playing Bond – I definitely got the sense that he knew more than he was telling me, he’d clearly met Barbara Broccoli before. We shall see…!

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Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù on how Mothering Sunday let him “flex a different muscle”

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Mothering Sunday was an opportunity to flex a different muscle and explore a different part of my craft,” says Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, explaining what drew him to his latest film, a 1920s-set period romance co-starring Odessa Young and Josh O’Connor. “It requires a different sort of discipline or a different sensibility: I think lots of things are like muscles where if you don’t use them, you’ll lose them.”

“I think it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come from times, and also how far we haven’t come as well,” continues Dìrísù, talking about why he enjoys period drama. “Part of the magic of performance is being transported, and you get that a bit more viscerally when you’re doing a period drama than when you’re doing a modern-day piece.”

Key to this is Dìrísù’s interest in “the lived experience, and either documenting that or interrogating it.”

“A big one that I can’t escape is race, and race relations, racial politics. Donald [Dìrísù’s Mothering Sunday character], in the time 1920s-1940s, had a very specific experience and interrogating how he had to navigate that compared to how I navigate it today is creatively interesting.”

The first part of a three-part interview with Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, who was a really enthusiastic, thoughtful interviewee. Enjoyed doing this one, nice to share it finally (this was, I think, done in early October?)

You can find more of my interviews here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed reading this piece – or if you didn’t – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?