Ask anyone to name an iconic action hero and the list is extensive: Luke Skywalker, The Terminator, Indiana Jones, Ellen Ripley, Rambo, John McClane and Jason Bourne are just some of the names that come to mind.
But what about Yuri Boyka?
While certainly not as iconic or popular as the previously mentioned characters, Yuri Boyka has managed to craft a small yet dedicated fan club, one that has transformed what could have just been another generic Russian villain into one of the greatest Video on Demand (VOD) characters ever conceived. Despite playing a secondary role in a straight to DVD sequel of a mediocre boxing film, Scott Adkin’s performance as the Russian prison underground MMA fighter helped launch his career.
Despite appearing in mainstream films including X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Expendables II, Zero Dark Thirty, Grimsby and Doctor Strange, Adkins has still maintained a strong presence in the VOD market, not only producing a second franchise with Ninja, but elevating Yuri Boyka to the role of protagonist in Undisputed III: Redemption and even giving Boyka: Undisputed IV a mainstream, cinematic release.
Now, there is buzz over whether Adkins may be considered for one of the most iconic action roles in cinema history: James Bond.
With Daniel Craig’s involvement in the series now under scrutiny, many fans and media outlets have been speculating over his replacement. Currently, bets are on the likes of Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston and Michael Fassbender to assume the mantel, which is if Daniel Craig calls it a day.
So does Adkins have a chance? Here are five reasons we think Scott Adkins would be perfect for the role:
5. Iconic Characters
Bond can be described in many words but the one that is most accurate: iconic.
How else could a character that first appeared on the big screen back in 1962 still be one of the most popular cinematic characters after 24 films? Despite his post-World War II/Cold War origins, Bond has perfectly evolved into the modern era, now battling the enemies of contemporary Western society.
So does Adkins have what it takes to maintain the iconic status of Bond?
Unlike almost all the previous actors who have taken up the mantel of 007, Adkins has had a history of creating iconic characters. While responsible for elevating the role of Yuri Boyka from antagonist to protagonist, Adkins also has a second VOD franchise: Ninja. While the character of Casey Bowman, an American orphan trained by Japanese ninjas, is nowhere near as iconic as Boyka, the film did lead to a more popular sequel and led to a resurgence in ninjas in the film.
Could Adkins maintain the iconic status of James Bond? Most likely, yes. After all, he has been the face and talent of two franchises, an impressive feat for two VOD releases.
4 . Strong Fan Base
After Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was announced by Warner Bros. Studios, several actors were rumoured to be attached to the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne including Christian Bale (possibly returning after Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy), Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Ben Affleck among others. One name, however, that stood out was Adkins himself as he was the only potential candidate that had a fan petition begging Warner Bros. to cast him as the caped crusader. The only other exception was Ben Affleck who, instead, had a petition demanding that he be removed from the role after news of his casting.
To have a stronger and more vocal fan base than the likes of Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Ben Affleck is something special, especially one that will actively advocate on your behalf. Sadly, Adkins was not cast as the Dark Knight with the studio choosing the safer Ben Affleck, once again disappointing fans with the possibility of a Batman who knows how to fight.
However, this is surely a strength for Adkins, as his fan following, aware of his underdog status, will push studios to cast him. Not only will this spread his name amongst studios, it will eliminate any doubts about his popularity.
3 . The Right Fit for Bond
When it comes to James Bond, fan expectations are high. Actors selected for the role are always under heavy scrutiny. When Daniel Craig was selected to take over the role from Pierce Brosnan in 2005, fans were outraged. A blonde James Bond? Craig may have quickly proven them wrong with Casino Royale and Skyfall becoming classics in the canon but it proved that fans would be critical of every casting choice.
While Craig managed to break the mould and create a unique take on James Bond, fans still have expectations. Even one of the top choices, Idris Elba, was still scrutinised by fans. So would Adkins’ casting please the purists? Most likely, yes. Adkins has the right look for Bond, one that could easily fit into a tuxedo while sipping martinis. Sauve, charming and very English, the only thing that could hold him back in the eyes of fans is the fact he is not a classically trained actor.
Both Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton are classically trained actors from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), Pierce Brosnan attended the Dramatic Centre London and Daniel Craig went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Even Sean Connery, who never went to college, got his start with small roles while working at the King’s Theatre. However, as seen with the next point, this lack of official recognition could turn out to be a huge advantage.
2 . Unknown Actor
There is only one real difference between Adkins and every other actor being considered for the role of James Bond: recognition. Outside of his circle of fans, Adkins is relatively unknown compared to every other actor being considered. Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender are highly respected Academy Award nominees, Tom Hiddleston is best known for the role of Loki in the Marvel Universe and Idris Elba is slowly becoming one of the most popular actors in Hollywood. But none of that will help them.
Because producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have a history of selecting unknown actors for the role of James Bond. After Pierce Brosnan departed from the series, many stars were considered for the role in Casino Royale including Hugh Jackman, Sam Worthington and Dougray Scott, before going with the unknown Daniel Craig who, at the time, was mostly known for his roles in Tomb Raider, Road to Perdition, Munich and Layer Cake. The same happened with GoldenEye when Mel Gibson, Liam Neeson and Sam Neill were all considered before Brosnan was cast.
If history teaches us anything, it is that Broccoli and Wilson will likely consider big stars for the role, but ultimately they will go for an actor who, while appearing in a couple of big movies, is virtually unknown to a wider audience. Someone just like Scott Adkins.
1. Martial Arts
Martial arts have always played a huge part in the James Bond saga. Even without his trusty Walter PPK sidearm or his array of gadgets, Bond can still fight. Sean Connery, a Black Belt in Kyokushin Karate, introduced audiences to the style as well as Judo that, at the time, were being imported by immigrants and troops returning from Japan and South Korea. Roger Moore introduced some Kung Fu to the role (mostly as a homage to the rise of Hong Kong cinema) and even Pierce Brosnan utilised some brutal military combatives in his fight scenes in GoldenEye. However, it was Daniel Craig that introduced audiences to the much more vicious styles of self-defense and combatives. Styles like Krav Maga, Kali, Silat, Jeet Kune Do, Keysi and Mixed Martial Arts were now the go to fighting styles for action heroes such as Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher.
But what if James Bond could actually fight?
Choreographers and martial arts instructors train many of the actors cast in action roles but they are still not fighters. Scott Adkins is a different story. Starting with Judo as a child, Adkins made the transition to Taekwondo and Kickboxing as a teenager, eventually earning a Black Belt in both styles. Since then, Adkins has trained in Wushu, Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Mixed Martial Arts, Krav Maga, Karate, Ninjitsu, Capoeira and Gymnastics, expanding his skills and pushing himself physically. His training has not only seen him achieve feats of physicality that could easily be described as impossible but, most importantly, perform action scenes that could never be achieved by any actor. Whether he is portraying an MMA fighter, a ninja, an assassin, a soldier or a cop, Adkins has always brought incredible fight scenes to the screen and imagining a Bond with Adkins’ skills fighting is a very exciting prospect.
Who do you think should be cast as the next James Bond?