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Is Craig in the running for Casino Royale?

Story by: Jack Foley

LAYER Cake star, Daniel Craig, has emerged as the new favourite to play James Bond following a report in The Sun newspaper.

But while the tabloid claims that the talented British actor has been approached to take on the role of 007, the producers of the franchise have refused to confirm whether this is the case.

A statement issued by production company, Eon, read: "We're waiting for our director [Martin Campbell] to finish the film he's currently working on.

"Then I'm sure we'll be commenting a lot on all sorts of things."

A spokesman for Craig also declined to comment on the story, even though the casting would seem to comply with the new, harder direction Bond 21 is supposed to be taking.

Craig has rapidly made a name for himself as one of Britain's most talented actors, following two excellent lead turns in Layer Cake and Enduring Love, as well as scene-stealing support turns in the likes of Road to Perdition, Tomb Raider and, more recently, The Jacket.

He has also won prizes at the British Independent Film Awards, the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the London Critics' Circle Film Awards and would be viewed as someone who could easily mix the brains with the brawn of the Bond character.

Casino Royale will be directed by Bond veteran, Martin Campbell, who previously worked on Goldeneye.

Yet filming will not begin until Campbell has completed The Legend of Zorro, which is due for release in October, reuniting Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Casino Royale will be a new version of James Bond creator, Ian Fleming's first novel, and is widely predicted to herald a return to basics for the world's most popular secret agent in light of the criticism that surrounded the special effects heavy Die Another Day.

Past favourites to step into the shoes vacated by Pierce Brosnan have included Clive Owen, Dougray Scott, Hugh Jackman and Colin Salmon.

Yet the word on Craig certainly looks hot.

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