Twitter's Quest to Find a New Bond, #AsianBond

#AsianBond joins #StarringJohnCho in continuing the conversation about substantive roles for Asian-American actors.
#AsianBond joins #StarringJohnCho in continuing the conversation about substantive roles for Asian-American actors.

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By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

After reported rumors that actor Daniel Craig had turned down $100 million to reprise his role as the iconic James Bond, and while some debated whether Idris Elba or Tom Hiddleston should be next to play the character, others began dreaming about what an Asian James Bond might look like, using the hashtag "#AsianBond."

The hashtag joins the continuing conversation about the lack of substantive roles for Asian Americans in film and theater, as well as the continued casting of white actors as characters that were originally Asian, with several hashtag campaigns, including #MyYellowfaceStory, #MyBrownfaceStory, #whitewashedOUT, #StarringJohnCho, and #StarringConstanceWu. #StarringJohnCho, in particular, has already imagined what John Cho would look like in the role, however, many used #AsianBond to give their pick a U.K. twist, starting with Rahul Kohli, who plays Ravi on “iZombie.”

“Like most people, I wanted Idris Elba as the next Bond (directed by Chris Nolan, natch) but if we can't have that, an Asian Bond would be cool too,” Keith Chow, editor-in-chief of The Nerds of Color, told NBC News. “I also was interested in exploring the plethora of Asian British actors who could be Bond (sorry John Cho) because I feel like a Bond actor should at least be from the UK and unfortunately, like in America, too many people do not equate Asian with British. But mostly I wanted Rahul Kohli to retweet me.”

A popular fan theory speculates that the character of “James Bond” is not one specific person, but rather a code name, and thus the character is open to being portrayed by different actors, including actors of different races and ethnicities.

In addition to Kohli, Chow identified several actors of Asian descent from the United Kingdom who could take on the role, including Dev Patel, Raza Jaffrey, Naveen Andrews, Tony Leung, Benedict Wong, and Riz Ahmed.

Chow also proposed Asian British women to play the role, including Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang in the “Harry Potter” series, and Archie Panjabi, who played Kalinda Sharma on “The Good Wife.”

Others widened the field to look beyond UK actors to propose Asians from former British colonies, including Canadians, Australians, Indians, and Americans.

Some spotlit actors who would have been strong Bonds in the past.

And of course, there is always John Cho.