Ever since it became clear back in February last year that something was awry behind the scenes of Casino Royale – then James Bond 21 – the media has been spouting potential 007 replacements left, right and centre. In the process, Eon’s juggernaut film franchise has been absorbing the most press it has had in years.
Eon has remained tight-lipped throughout the whole affair, maintaining that casting for the role of 007 will take place in due time. Yet the Bond rumour pot has inexplicably boiled over in the past fortnight or so, as tabloids continue to churn out “next Bond” stories with names attached ranging from Julian McMahon and Orlando Bloom to Clive Owen, whose cryptic comments last week sent the Bond community into a frenzy. Latest Internet rumours even suggest Pierce Brosnan may return after all, despite a year’s worth of news indicating otherwise.
However, after one Bond rumour too many (this time, a Daniel Craig one), BBC News contacted Eon, whose spokesperson put the matter to rest and commented that no announcement is imminent.
“We’re waiting for our director to finish the film he’s currently working on,” said the spokesperson, referring to Martin Campbell, who is currently wrapping The Legend of Zorro. “Then I’m sure we’ll be commenting a lot on all sorts of things.”
The Zorro sequel is currently in post-production aiming for an October 2005 release date. Whenever Campbell moves onto Casino Royale is anyone’s guess, but sources close to CBn indicated in February that Sony wanted Campbell to wrap on The Legend of Zorro by mid-July and start work on the new Bond picture immediately.
Casino Royale is tentatively scheduled for release on 17 November 2006.
UPDATE: In an article discussing the state of the James Bond franchise, Variety contacted Pierce Brosnan’s reps who have denied any talks are taking place for him to return to the role of 007.
Meanwhile, as the Daniel Craig fire spreads through media sources over the world, convinced it’s a done deal, ThisisLondon reports that a spokesperson for the actor has denied the rumours.
Likewise, Orlando Bloom, who has been linked in the press to a series of Bond films based on the new Young Bond novels by Charlie Higson, has issued the most emphatic denial of them all. Says Bloom, “I’m not doing Young James Bond. No, no, no. It’s funny, my cousin called me up, he said, ‘Is there something you’re not telling me? That you’re playing James Bond? I just saw it on CNN.’ I was like, ‘Dude, my manager, my agent have never mentioned it to me, so not to date. Young or old, it had never been mentioned to me. I don’t know where that came from but I can tell you that I’ve never heard a whiff of it, not a whiff.”