Next James Bond: ‘Good news for Tom Hardy’ as he fights back against Bridgerton challenger

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Broccoli has always said no decisions would be made until Craig’s tenure as 007 was officially over. Well, No Time To Die has been and gone at the global cinema and its leading man has just launched his headlining Broadway season as Macbeth in the Shakespeare tragedy. Things are looking much cheerier for another star who was once the hot favourite to take up the license to kill (and thrill). Hardy fans will be very happy to know their idol is fighting back against Bridgerton hunk Rege-Jean Page.

Hardy has long been one of the front-runners, alongside the likes of Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba. The former is now nowhere to be seen in the rankings while the latter has slipped drastically in the odds, especially since he recently announced that his focus in the upcoming future would be on his music and DJing.

Page was the hot favourite during his initial run in the first season of Bridgerton. Although his character the Duke of Hastings does not appear on-screen at all in the second season (and is only mentioned), the British-Zimbabwean actor has returned to the top of the list, with current odds of 2/1 to be the next James Bond.  

However, after drifting away from the frontrunners, Hardy is making a new surge.

Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Apati told Express Online: “Rege-Jean Page continues to lead the way in the Bond betting, but it’s good news for Tom Hardy backers as he begins to close the gap on the frontrunners once again.”

Superman and Witcher star Henry Cavill is currently tucked behind Page on 4/1.

Hardy, however, has started to rise back up the rankings and is now sitting pretty at 7/1, evenly tied with Poldark and Hobbit star Aidan Turner.

Former top favourite James Norton has slipped to 10/1, alongside Michael Fassbender and Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy.

Elba who was also once the hot favourite (and remains the public choice in many polls) looks like he is out of the running now at 12/1. Even if his public distancing from the role were not enough, he is now 49. With the franchise looking unlikely to reboot for a couple more years and Broccoli speaking of ‘ten-year’ plans, his age has become a major bar to his chances.

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Broccoli was asked, of course, about plans for the next Bond at Craig’s opening night and said: “It’s a big decision. It’s not just casting a role. It’s about a whole rethink about where we’re going.”

She has previously explained that the actor they choose will be dictated by the tone the films in therebooted franchise will take: “Are they going to be more humorous or less humorous, more gritty or not gritty? And then, when we’ve done that, we have to figure out the actor to play it. So, no, it’s not just ‘Oh, who looks good in a suit?’ We have to figure this out on our own.”

Broccoli added: “The thing is, when you cast James Bond you’re not just casting one movie. You’re making a decision that you’re going to have to live with for at least a decade. Everybody has their own idea about what that person should be, so it’s a tough decision.

“With Casino Royale, by deciding to do that film and follow that trajectory (five interconnected films, with an over-arching story) it made it much easier to then identify the actor to play that role. And so now we have to decide what the films are going to be like.”

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