James Bond producers are searching for an actor to sign up for a whopping 12 years when they pick a new 007.
Franchise boss Barbara Broccoli has told how her team are planning a ‘reinvention’ of the British Secret Service agent character so need the huge ‘commitment’ from whoever is chosen.
It comes as she appeared to rule out 50-year-old Idris Elba from taking on the more than decade-long role due to his age.
Bookies Ladbrokes now have Henry Cavill, 39, at 2-1 to be the next 007 with Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page, 34, at 7-2, Tom Hardy, 45, at 4-1 and Oscar-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, also 45, 13-2.
Ms Broccoli told The Mirror of her plans for the next Bond: ‘We love Idris. The thing is, the decision is going to be a couple of years off.
‘And when we cast Bond, it’s a 10 to 12-year commitment. So he’s probably thinking, ‘Do I really want that?’.
‘It’s not just about casting an actor for a film, it’s about a reinvention.’
She also noted that it was difficult to encourage Daniel Craig, now 54, to take on the role in 2006, adding: ‘And he was in his 30s at the time.’
It comes after producers have said the upcoming movies in the franchise will have bigger roles for women and see a more ’emotional’ side to the 007 spy.
Barbara and Michael G. Wilson spoke about their plans for the franchise following the departure of Daniel as Bond in No Time To Die.
Producer Barbara, 62, said Daniel, 54, humanised the once-womanising spy and that the character’s ’emotional’ evolution will continue in the next instalment.
She also spoke about how recent Bond films have featured larger roles for women, adding that they plan to incorporate meatier female roles in the new movies as well.
‘It’s an evolution,’ she told Variety magazine. ‘Bond is evolving just as men are evolving, I don’t know who’s evolving at a faster pace.’
No Time To Die saw Lashana Lynch play fellow spy Nomi, making history as the first Black female double-O agent.
Speaking about Daniel’s more humanised version of Bond, Barbara – who produces the franchise with her half-brother Michael – said it was the first time the spy was ‘cracked open emotionally’.
‘The films over [Daniel’s] tenure were the first time we really connected the emotional arc,’ she said.
Stars including Tom Hardy, Richard Madden and Henry Cavill have also been tipped as front runners to be cast as Bond, after Barbara confirmed the next agent would be a man.
Venom actor Tom, 45, seemingly confirmed that he wants to be the next 007 – by refusing to talk about the part in fear it will get him blacklisted.
Speaking to the Daily Beast in 2017, he admitted: ‘If I mention it, it’s gone.’
He explained: ‘You know, there’s a saying amongst us in the fraternity of acting, and in the fellowship of my peer group, that if you talk about it you’re automatically out of the race. So I can’t possibly comment on that one!’
While Henry, 39, has been on record for years indicating he’s still interested in the coveted role should an opportunity arise.
He told The Sunday Times in 2021 that ‘time will tell’ if he becomes the latest actor to portray the iconic role, with Daniel Craig exiting the action franchise.
‘You don’t know which direction they want to take Bond in and so I like to say that everything’s always on the table,’ he said.
The Superman star, who was up for the role in 2005 when Daniel was cast, speculated on who could be eyed for the role.
He told GQ in 2020 that he ‘would absolutely jump at the opportunity’ if it arose, as he ‘would love to play Bond’ and that ‘it would be very, very exciting’.
Another favourite is Regé Jean-Page, who admitted last year that he’s ‘flattered’ to be included among a host of British stars tipped for the iconic role.
He told The Mirror: ‘Ah, the B word. I think that if you are British and you do anything of note, that other people take notice of, then people will start talking about that.’
Despite being the bookies favourite, the Bridgerton star said he was bemused by the idea of making any plans at ‘this moment in history’ and has ‘given up’ doing so.
Barbara – the daughter of original James Bond producer Albert Broccoli – has previously told patient fans they could still be waiting some time for the 26th Eon film as shooting for the next epic is ‘at least two years away’.
Speaking at a dinner where she and screenwriter Michael, 80, were awarded BFI fellowships in June, Barbara also hinted at major changes to the character as she said they are ‘reinventing’ the MI6 agent.
According to the Daily Mail’s Richard Eden, she teased: ‘I’d say that filming is at least two years away. It’s a reinvention of Bond.’
She also said she and Michael have not started writing a script for the upcoming 007 film because they want to first make decisions on casting and how they will approach the next instalment.
The half-siblings were handed the reins to Albert Broccoli’s famed Eon Productions in 1995, a year before he passed away at 87 years of age.
Barbara and Michael have been in charge of the 007 franchise ever since, casting both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig through their Bond runs.
It comes after Ian Fleming’s Instagram account teased a special announcement coming up for the franchise. The late writer died in 1964.
Sharing a cryptic post of a retro typewriter, the account under the late writer’s name teased the announcement for October 5, which has officially been dubbed ‘James Bond day’.
‘See you on James Bond Day! #007,’ penned the account, adding eyeball emojis.
The post left fans full of excitement, taking to the comments as one wrote that they were ‘eagerly anticipating’ the news.
October 5 is also known as James Bond Day for fans of the long-running franchise – as it is the date of the 1962 World Premiere of the first James Bond film.
This day of celebrations first began in 2012 when the Bond films celebrated their golden anniversary – holding events all around the globe.
Elsewhere, Amazon recently acquired MGM, the studio behind Bond, for £6billion and the deal will see the first ever reality TV series based on the franchise.
Bond: 007’s Road to a Million will see contestants follow clues in an epic worldwide race, competing for a £1million cash prize.
Barbara admitted her reluctance to do a TV show for Bond as they didn’t want the contestants to have to do ‘dangerous’ things, but she insisted filming was perfectly safe.