If U.K. bookmakers are to believed, Homeland actor Damian Lewis may stand a fighting chance at playing the next James Bond.
I know, I know – bear with me for a minute. This is far from official in any sense of the word, but the U.K.’s William Hill, a company that takes financially backed bets on events at agreed-upon odds, has out-of-nowhere jacked up Lewis’ odds of playing 007 from an outsider 25/1 to a very high up 3/1, putting the Emmy winner just behind the long-rumored Idris Elba (5/2) but ahead of more obvious candidates like Tom Hardy (4/1), Henry Cavill (5/1) and Michael Fassbender (7/1).
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What gives? This is really just a financially backed wishlist, but that the people gambling on this believe Lewis has a serious shot could say something about in-studio rumblings. A spokesperson for William Hill said:
“This is an unprecedented gamble, as for no apparent reason we have seen bets of up to £200 [$312] on Damian Lewis being named as the next Bond. This could well be significant and might herald the end of Daniel Craig as the world’s most famous spy.”
Or, it could be people realizing just how good Lewis looks in a suit. Either way, the Scottish actor was listed three years ago on our wish list of actors who could take their martini shaken, not stirred, and in 2013, he joked that the Scottish ancestry outlined in Skyfall “paved the way perfectly for a red-headed Bond.” So this definitely isn’t the first Lewis has heard of his potential candidacy for the role, and he at least has a good sense of humor about it.
The more interesting question here is when current Bond Daniel Craig will make his exit. This year’s Spectre finds the actor playing the British secret agent for the fourth time, after Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. But after Spectre, the partnership between MGM and Sony comes to a close, and there’s a bidding war brewing between major studios all equipped to outbid Sony and claim the rights to make James Bond movies. That could be the juncture at which Craig and Skyfall then Spectre helmer Sam Mendes say their goodbyes.
Of course, Lewis isn’t the only contender. Elba has said that he believes his chances of playing Bond were already killed by all the Internet commotion surrounding his potential casting, but he’s still in the lead as far as William Hill is concerned, and former Sony head Amy Pascal bluntly backed Elba for the part in a leaked email back in January. And there’s no telling what kind of James Bond MGM and Sony/whichever studio snags the rights will want after Craig. We’ll keep you posted with all the latest on the franchise.