Who will be the next Bond? Here are the candidates
Daniel Craig, a somewhat reluctant James Bond at times, has had one foot out of the tuxedo almost from the moment he took on the role back in 2006.
PARIS - There are few casting decisions as hotly anticipated as the question of who will be the next 007, with many expecting that a black Bond or even female Bond is on the cards.
Daniel Craig, a somewhat reluctant Bond at times, has had one foot out of the tuxedo almost from the moment he took on the role back in 2006.
But No Time to Die appears to really be his fifth and final outing, and so the rumour mill is back in action.
For years, several names have been closely linked to the role, which has previously been played by stars including Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.
Craig was an attempt to toughen up Bond after Her Majesty's top agent was threatened by an American - Jason Bourne - and his grittier adventures.
He was a massive success, with Casino Royale and Skyfall in particular seen as two of the best Bond films of all time, and returning the character to the style of the original novels by Ian Fleming.
Tom Hardy, often a villain or at least an anti-hero in films like The Dark Knight Rises, Venom and Mad Max: Fury Road, would be a way to maintain that darker vision of Bond.
He is currently the bookies' favourite in Britain, according to betting agency William Hill.
British actor Tom Hardy poses for a photograph upon arrival for the world premiere of Dunkirk in London in July 2017. Picture: Tolga AKMEN/AFP
A name that is often in the discussion is Idris Elba, known for The Wire, The Suicide Squad and hit BBC series Luther.
He set social media tongues wagging in 2018 when he posted: "My name's Elba, Idris Elba" - echoing Bond's famous catchphrase - but he added soon after: "Don't believe the hype!"
Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has repeatedly said that the next 007 "doesn't need to be a white man".
FILE: Idris Elba. Picture: @idriselba/Twitter
Broccoli seemed to rule out the possibility of a female bond, telling Variety: "I'm not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that."
But that hasn't stopped speculation around Lashana Lynch, a 33-year-old black British woman.
Craig, however, agreed with Broccoli's position, telling the Radio Times: "There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour.
"Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?"
English actor Lashana Lynch poses upon arrival for the European gala premiere of the film Captain Marvel in London February 2019. Picture: AFP.
Having set millions of hearts aflutter with Netflix hit Bridgerton over the past year, another bookmaker's favourite is the young British-Zimbabwean actor.
He has been self-effacing about the idea, telling US talk show host Jimmy Fallon: "If you're a Brit and you do something of any kind of renown, then people start saying the B-word."
Regé-Jean Page attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on 19 September 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Picture: Rich Fury/Getty Images/AFP
Less coy about his desire for a licence to kill is Spiderman star Tom Holland.
Not content with being a superhero, Holland told Variety: "As a young British lad who loves cinema, I'd love to be James Bond. So, you know, I'm just putting that out there. I look pretty good in a suit."
ALSO IN THE RUNNING
There are plenty of other candidates, with Vogue recently offering a run-down that gave strong odds to "British-Malaysian dreamboat" Henry Golding, Bodyguard star Richard Madden - or for a more cerebral twist on the character, _Peaky Blinders _lead Cillian Murphy.
For now, lips are sealed at Bond HQ, with Broccoli saying: "You can only be in love with one person at a time.
"For now, we just cannot think about anything beyond Daniel."