FiveThirtyEight: Being 007 is bad for your career

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

What actor wouldn’t want to be James Bond? You’re paid well. There’s a worldwide audience awaiting your next film. You will be one of the most famous people on earth.

Well, according to ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog, it may not be good for your career.

FiveThirtyEight, formerly affiliated with The New York Times, helped popularize “data driven journalism,” where data, and not snark and supposition, drives stories.

FiveThirtyEight (named after the number of electors in the U.S. electoral college) was founded by Nate Silver, who gained notoriety for correctly forecasting results of the 2012 U.S. presidential election when the site was part of the Times. Silver later moved on, selling FiveThirtyEight to Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN.

Anyway, FiveThirtyEight is about more than politics and goes into entertainment news. As a result, the site’s Ben Lindbergh analyzed career trajectories of James Bond actors.

Here’s an excerpt:

While ur-Bond Sean Connery made the character an icon and, in the process, became iconic himself, the returns for the actors who’ve succeeded him — even excluding George Lazenby, who hadn’t acted in films before becoming Bond and who went one and done with “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” — have been more mixed. To determine the potential impact of playing Bond on an actor’s output, I analyzed the IMDb user ratings for each post-Lazenby Bond’s acting work from the five years before his first Bond film, the years during his reign, and the five years after he retired his tux, excluding uncredited roles, one-episode spots on TV shows, voice work and video games.

Lindbergh writes that those IMDB user ratings are higher for 007 actors during the five years before they became Bond compared with their 007 years or the five years following the role.

Lindbergh wrote: “Acting credits tend to dwindle after Bond, perhaps because financial security frees actors to take fewer roles; Bond-related fame and advancing age limit their other options; or celebrity, protracted productions and the need to recover from the beatings they take sidetrack their careers. (Or your alternative theory!)”

What spurred the post is speculation that Tom Hiddleston could be in the running to succeed Daniel Craig following the former’s appearance in the miniseries The Night Manager.

To read the entire post, CLICK HERE. It’s titled “Pray Your Favorite Actor Doesn’t Become James Bond.”

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2 Responses

  1. Both Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton’s careers seemed to go against this theory.

  2. Actually, it could be said for many successful tv characters. Once you have established yourself in a successful ongoing tv program, it seems difficult to pull it off again. Happens, but not all that often.

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