And the new betting favourite to be the next James Bond is…

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When it was first announced back in 2005 that Daniel Craig was going to be the new James Bond, every tabloid rag worth its trashy salt (and even a few big time publications) were all running variations of the very droll headline of “James Blonde?”. Craig of course ended up having much darker locks when he eventually debuted as 007 in Casino Royale, but if the press kicked up such a fuss back then, they’re sure to have a field day with a Bond that’s a lot more ginger. And we may just see that happen.

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According to British bookmakers William Hill (via The Guardian) Homeland and Band of Brothers star Damien Lewis is currently the betting favourite to replace Craig once his tenure as 007 is up. Now it has to be stated that being the betting favourite means nothing more than just that: People are betting (because, yes, people bet on everything) that Lewis is going to get the gig. It doesn’t mean – well, not necessarily – that anybody has any insider info about his potential casting, but it is still a very intriguing turn of events.

Up until now, Idris Elba has been the favourite after rumours surfaced last year that Bond producers EON Productions were eyeballing the English actor. The fact that Elba would be the first black Bond if he was cast certainly spurred public debate and thus lead to his popularity with the bookies, even after Elba has since shut the rumours down. There’s been no such rumours about Lewis – who was previously listed at 25/1 odds – making his sudden surge up the ranks very puzzling.

As things stand, the 47-year old Lewis leads affairs as a 6/4 favourite, followed by 42-year old Elba at 5/2, 37-year old Tom Hardy at 4/1, 32-year old Henry Cavill at 5/1 and 38-year old Michael Fassbender at 7/1. I mentioned their ages because you would think that if the 47-year old Craig were to hang up the Walther PPK and Elba was not in contention, then EON would be leaning towards a younger, far more popular actor than Lewis, rather than just casting somebody else the same age.

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For what it’s worth, Lewis is open to playing the famous super-spy and has previously joked that the “Scottish heritage outlined in Skyfall had ‘paved the way perfectly for a red-headed Bond.” And to be fair, I actually think he could be a pretty badass 007. Over the years, we’ve seen him being a physical action man, a tragic hero, a stoic figure and a suave gentleman – all aspects of Bond.

The question is though, is there even a job opening for him? As Guardian reports, Craig is signed on for possibly one more movie after this November’s Spectre, however director Sam Mendes – who also directed the record-breaking previous film Skyfall – probably won’t be returning for a third film. If Spectre is as or even more successful than its predecessor, Craig may choose to leave on a high note with his director.

Even more telling though, is the fact that after Spectre the franchise is set to possibly get some new masters as Sony’s production deal with MGM runs out, prompting a bidding war between other studios. And with new bosses, they may just want to have a new face leading their billion dollar property. The problem, of course, is just that: it’s a billion dollar property. Despite initial trepidation, audiences have really taken to Craig as Bond, resulting in bigger box office successes than ever before in the franchise’s history. And we all know just how risk-averse Hollywood studios can be when it comes to things that make them lots of money.

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If I were a betting man – and the fact that I had to google what all those odds mean, should tell you that I’m usually not – then I would think that despite this mysterious recent flurry of betting in favour of Lewis, Daniel Craig is going to stick around for at least one more movie, and possibly even get a contract extension. Yes, he will be over 50 then, but he certainly doesn’t look it (unlike Roger Moore, who was looking very much the lecherous old man close to the end of his stint as Bond).

And besides, even if Craig doesn’t stay on, there’s another British actor who is willing and able to take it on, has just played an international spy and just so happens to be replacing Craig in a different franchise for his next film: Jason freaking Statham. C’mon, it’s about time we got a Cockney 007, innit guvnor?!

 

Last Updated: June 18, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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