THE latest instalment in the James Bond series, Spectre, will be the fourth to star Daniel Craig as 007. But ahead of the film’s UK release on October 26, speculation is already mounting as to who will be next to play the world’s best known secret agent. We profile who’s in the running to win one of the most coveted roles in cinema and how bookmakers rate their chances.
Damian Lewis - 7/2
The Homeland star was installed as the new bookies’ favourite to become the next Bond in June. Lewis is a recognised name on both sides of the Atlantic and, like Bond, was educated at a leading public school. The 44-year-old would likely prove a popular choice with both fans and critics, and would have no problem cutting a dash in one of the spy’s trademark tuxedos.
Tom Hardy - 7/4
Hardy’s profile has rocketed in 2015 thanks to the UK box office success of Legend, the Kray twins biopic in which he plays both Ronnie and Reggie. The 38-year-old Londoner has previous experience of espionage films thanks to his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and is no stranger to showing off his physical prowess on screen. He’s a strong candidate to pick up Bond’s famous Walther PPK handgun.
Idris Elba - 3/1
Many Bond fans would be thrilled if Elba, best known for playing Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell in smash hit HBO series The Wire, became the first black actor to play Bond. The 43-year-old has long been considered a favourite to replace Daniel Craig, and has said he’s humbled to be linked with such a role. But some remain sceptical that producers will choose a non-white candidate - former Bond Pierce Brosnan said this week that “anything is possible for sure, but I think he’ll be male and he’ll be white.”
Dougary Scott - 33/1
Fife native Scott was considered a frontrunner to replace Pierce Brosnan as Bond when producers Eon were casting Casino Royale back in 2004. The role was eventually given to Daniel Craig and the rest is history. But Scott, 49, is still an outside bet to take over the reigns as 007.
William Hague - 200/1
The 54-year-old former Conservative Party leader stood down as an MP at May’s General Election after 26 years in parliament. While Hague lacks professional acting experience and is unlikely to resemble most people’s idea of Bond, his time as Foreign Secretary means he has in-depth knowledge of international affairs and the security services. At least one bookmaker is accepting bets on the Yorkshireman defying the odds and winning the role.