After Russia, could Bond be James Norton’s next McJob?
JAMES NORTON suits up in a tuxedo, makes waves in a pair of swimmers and kicks ass in a string of fight scenes for his latest TV drama.
But, despite ticking all the boxes for a licence to kill, the British star denies the Russian crime drama McMafia is an audition for a certain spy franchise.
Norton, 32, did tell the producers it would fuel rumours of him playing James Bond. ‘I warned [the director] James [Watkins] and [the screenwriter] Hossein [Amini] that, if they wrote the first scene as me getting out of a cab in a tux, they might stir some of it,’ he laughed.
As for reports he is a favourite for the next 007, Norton teased: ‘Personally, I’m very thankful Daniel Craig is going to do at least one more film, two… or five, I’m a big fan of his.’
The star was put through the wringer as Alex Godman, a hedge fund manager whose family’s ties to the Russian mob catch up with him. Norton was left black and blue mastering the Russian martial art ‘systema’ for the eight-part series.
‘I went to these classes run by this amazingly eccentric man called David, who I became very close to,’ he recalled. ‘The first thing he said to me was, “The thing about English people, when they meet fear they run away, in Russia we meet fear, we shake him by the f***ing hand!”’
Training involved ‘hours of this man punching me’, he grimaced: ‘It’s all about taking the pain and relaxing through. It was terrifying!’ But Norton — who dates actress Jessie Buckley, 27 — said it was easy to maintain his toned, honed appearance on set.
‘Catering was slim because it’s obviously the Beeb,’ he quipped.
Based on the best-selling book by Misha Glenny, McMafia begins on BBC1 on New Year’s Day at 9pm.
‘Dapper Daddy’ adds to family fame
JAMES NORTON’S dad has kept up his tradition of bagging bit parts in his son’s TV shows.
Retired lecturer Hugh Norton, previously spotted in the BBC’s War & Peace and ITV’s Grantchester, pops up in McMafia.
‘He turns up in episode five. His character’s name is Dapper Sugar Daddy,’ said James, adding: ‘He gets more press than me.’
We also hear this could be Norton Jr’s cheekiest performance to date, with talk that he flashes his bottom in one episode. Bet you rear-ly want to watch it now…
Author: Tom Stichbury