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Top 10 Actors Who Should Play James Bond Villains

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Aaron Bens. These actors are just waiting to sign the lease on their ridiculous lairs. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 actors who should play James Bond villains. For this list, we set out to determine who should be the next actor to go toe to toe with MI6’s top agent, as 007 has taken on iconic villains in the past, from Dr. No to Raul Silva. In terms of specific criteria, we’ve left the field pretty open: so long as the actor is alive, he or she qualifies. Special thanks to our users Glen Vloemans, FlorinP, ninou78 and Lionel Gilmore for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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These actors are just waiting to sign the lease on their ridiculous lairs. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 actors who should play James Bond villains.

For this list, we set out to determine who should be the next actor to go toe to toe with MI6’s top agent, as 007 has taken on iconic villains in the past, from Dr. No to Raul Silva. In terms of specific criteria, we’ve left the field pretty open: so long as the actor is alive, he or she qualifies.

#10: Vincent Cassel
Didier Sangfroid (Leader of Pro-Ballroom Dance Terrorists)

Most known in North America for his villainous role as Night Fox in the “Ocean’s Trilogy,” Vincent Cassel is an accomplished French actor with a tough guy reputation. Often sought after to play off characters with a short temper, he would serve as a much more out of control villain than Bond is used to if he were cast in one of the franchise’s movies. It is this very unpredictability that would set him apart from the usual cool customers Bond faces off with. We’d also like to see Cassel embrace his roots and play on his natural talents that are showcased in scenes like the laser-dance sequence in “Ocean’s Twelve.”

#9: Jada Pinkett Smith
Villain Name: Belinda Upshot (Infiltrates MI6... and 007's Heart)

By occupying the role of Fish Mooney on Fox’s “Gotham,” Jada Pinkett Smith has displayed to the world just how devious she can be. In the 007 movies, Pinkett Smith would serve as a refreshing change up to the often-familiar Bond formula. Since the franchise is filled with most dominantly male antagonists, she would move beyond the role of Bond girl and into the spotlight to throw the MI6 spy off the trail of her true plan. We think she’d be especially good at carrying over the cruelty and cunning from her “Gotham” character into a Bond villain who will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

#8: Joaquin Phoenix
Villain Name: Samuel Goodland (Leader of Cult that Kidnaps the Queen)

He’s an unrivalled actor with more nominated performances than we could list here and is known for how truly he can transform himself for a role. In particular, Joaquin Phoenix’s range would allow him to deceive Bond in more ways than one thanks to a multi-layered performance as the villain. Able to play both sincere and treacherous, Phoenix would undoubtedly be a wild card for 007. Though he passed on playing Doctor Strange because he’s not a fan of the idea of starring in many movies of a single franchise, he could easily slot himself in for one film and make his mark on the Bond universe.

#7: Sean Connery
Villain Name: Angus Forefather (Sea Captain Turned Evil Cruiseship Tycoon)

Bear with us here. Yes, he’s played 007 before, but with his last Bond film being “Never Say Never Again” in 1983 – and that wasn’t even an Eon Productions movie, like the majority of them – Sean Connery has had enough distance from Bond now to return as a villain. Fan service is an obvious factor here, but it shouldn’t be overlooked how incredibly talented he is as an actor. Able to be both convincing and comedic as proven by his turn as Bond, Connery also handles action very well at his age, as seen in films like “The Rock.”

#6: Ken Watanabe
Villain Name: Ken Watanabe (Samurai movie star secretly training army of Samurai)

Popping up in more and more in Hollywood blockbusters as the years go by, Ken Watanabe is at the perfect point in his career to take on 007. He conveys intelligence and sincerity in many of his roles along with the capability of ferocity and force. Movies like 2014’s “Godzilla” reboot and even “Inception” wouldn’t be the same without his presence. Meanwhile, his often regal and intelligent performances in films like “The Last Samurai” prove he won’t easily be stirred by James Bond.

#5: Charlize Theron
Villain Name: Madeline Grace (One-Legged Billionaire Philanthropist With Secret Agenda)

Fresh off her turn as Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road”, this Oscar caliber actress has made a name for herself as an elegant and world-class talent. Her transformation in 2003 for the film “Monster” shows that she could portray more than a simple one-note character. In a Bond movie, we hope she would embrace both her beauty and her brains. Theron would especially be primed to defy Bond’s expectations as a broken mind like the one she portrayed in aforementioned “Monster” and is able to handle the action like Furiosa of “Fury Road.”

#4: Kevin Spacey
Villain Name: Graydon Doersam (Sociopath Genius With Nanorobot Army)

A usual suspect for villainous roles, Kevin Spacey is one of the hottest actors in Hollywood at the moment thanks to the success of “House of Cards.” With a string of nefarious roles under his belt, he’s proven time and again that he truly is a great foil for any protagonist. Pick any one of his roles as a framework for a Bond villain - whether it be Micky’s manipulative manner from “21” or John Doe’s psychotic dedication from “Se7en” - Spacey can be both revolting and charming, but nevertheless he’s always entertaining.

#3: Gary Oldman
Villain Name: Codename: Smoke (Infamous Kaiser Soze-like Chameleon)

One of the most chameleonic actors working today, Gary Oldman can always be counted on to deliver a unique performance. With the global stakes of a Bond film, Oldman would truly be able to elevate his past roles. And with him playing a villain in particular, not only would Bond need to be at his best, but he would also need to grow as a character to overcome the big, bad Oldman. Roles in “Air Force One” and “The Fifth Element” show Oldman has what it takes to stand toe to toe with any action hero.

#2: Malcolm McDowell
Villain Name: Dennis Spiker (Bond's Former Mentor & Love Interest)

Perhaps no name is more closely associated with big screen villainy than that of Malcolm McDowell. Noticeably recognizable as Alex from “A Clockwork Orange,” this English actor has a list of antagonizing roles a mile long on his actor’s resume. When it comes to Bond, we see McDowell playing the villain as more of an armchair killer. Intellectual yet capable, he would have a well thought-out plan. Look to Tolian Soran of “Star Trek Generations” for reference. Good friends with the previous entry on our list, Gary Oldman, we can only imagine the time Bond would have dealing with whoever employs these two.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Willem Dafoe
- Helen Mirren
- Guy Pearce
- Angelina Jolie
- Tilda Swinton

#1: Peter Dinklage
Villain Name: Rumi Bodkin (Volatile Arms Dealer & Poetry Lover)

Considering he’s often the most associated face with the landmark series “Game of Thrones,” it’s not surprising that Peter Dinklage will likely be able to take over silver screen as well – not that he hasn’t been in big screen movies so far. But we’d like to see Tyrion Lannister’s quick wit and determination translate into an unstoppable Bond villain. Inserting Dinklage into the Bond universe would give 007 someone he needs to best mentally, rather than having to use his physical abilities. Able to convey a genius level intellect, Dinklage would undoubtedly create a mastermind villain that is able to enthrall with more of an emphasis on dialogue than the traditional action sequences the franchise is known for, but that’s exactly what would make a movie with him so interesting and entertaining to watch.

Do you agree with our list? Who would you want to see play a James Bond villain? For more undercover top tens be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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