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MGM tight-lipped on casting for Bond 21

Story by: Jack Foley

BOND bosses at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are refusing to be drawn on speculation surrounding the future of Pierce Brosnan, who has reportedly withdrawn from the franchise.

Responding to the increased speculation, ahead of the release of Bond 21 in November 2005, MGM President, Chris McGurk maintained that ‘casting issues’ had yet to be resolved since Brosnan, 51, was reported as saying he would no longer be 007.

Intriguingly, he also refused to count Brosnan out - heightening suggestions that Brosnan’s comments may have been made in an attempt to increase the actor’s bargaining power.

McGurk added, in a statement, that the next film in the 42-year-old series was still in development - although a script was complete.

However, a director will be hired before the issue of who would play Bond gets addressed.

"At that point, we're going to address the casting issues", he added. "It's the same process we went through with Die Another Day."

Fears about Brosnan’s imminent departure from the franchise he helped to rescue were heightened in the week, when Brosnan said in an interview with that ‘Bond is another lifetime. Behind me’.

The website also quoted him as saying: That’s it. I've said all I've got to say on the world of James Bond."

But according to a report on the BBC, David Black, chairman of the official James Bond International Fan Club, refused to believe that the popular star had made his last Bond film until there was official confirmation from Eon or MGM.

In the meantime, the bookies have started to take odds on which actor could be brought in to replace Brosnan, with the lead contenders believed to be English, and capable of taking on the role for 15 years and really make it his own.

William Hill’s shortlist includes Scottish actor, Gerard Butler, who plays the lead role in the forthcoming Phantom of the Opera film, as well as King Arthur star, Ioan Gruffudd.

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