James Bond producers say the next 007 must be willing to sign up for at least a decade for the “reinvention” of the role.
And that decision by franchise boss Barbara Broccoli would seem to indicate that front-runner for the role Idris Elba is too old at 50.
The Luther actor had recently appeared to rule himself out of the running in saying: “When I look in the mirror, I don’t see James Bond.”
But producer Michael G Wilson had claimed east London-born Elba was “great” to follow Daniel Craig as the spy.
Yet Ms Broccoli said: “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?’.”
Wilson noted that it was difficult to encourage the Craig, now 54 and having starred in five Bond movies, to take on the gruelling undertaking in 2006, adding: “And he was in his 30s at the time.”
Ms Broccoli added: “It’s not just about casting an actor for a film, it’s about a reinvention.”
Asked if the qualities seen last year in No Time To Die with Bond as a family man would continue, she hinted they would go further.
Ms Broccoli said: “It’s an evolution. Bond is evolving just as men are evolving.”
Bookies Ladbrokes now have Superman actor Henry Cavill, 39, at 2-1 to be the next 007 with Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page, 34, at 7-2, Venom hardman Tom Hardy, 45, at 4-1 and Oscar-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, also 45, 13-2.
Producers are planning for 60th anniversary celebrations of the franchise next month, including a concert of The Sound of 007 at the Royal Albert Hall.
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