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Bond 21 delayed as search for new 007 continues

Story by: Jack Foley

AFTER months of speculation surrounding the casting of a new 007, it has been confirmed that the 21st James Bond adventure has been put on hold.

Current Bond, Pierce Brosnan, has still not been ruled out for a final mission, but speculation is mounting that a replacement is being sought.

What's more, a director has yet to be attached to the project, forcing production company, MGM, to put back the film from its planned November 2005 release.

Filming had been due to start early next year, but with so much doubt still surrounding the project, it is not yet known when a new start date can be pencilled in, even though a script has already been written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the duo behind Die Another Day and The World Is Not Enough.

As a result, producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, and Eon Studios have been forced to move the release date to some time in 2006.

A spokesman for MGM told the BBC: "We're not going to be the slave to a release date or shoe-horn it in so we can make a date. We're still in the development process."

The spokesman went on to say that although Brosnan had fulfilled his contractual agreements, he had not been ruled out entirely from the project.

But speculation suggests that the time has come to find a younger star who can carry the franchise forward for another few years.

Actors who have been mentioned include Troy star, Eric Bana, and Brit favourite, Jude Law, although King Arthur duo, Clive Owen and Ioan Gruffudd continue to crop up in rumours.

As for a director, it has been reported that Layer Cake director, Matthew Vaughn, has emerged as a likely contender, given the critical response to his first film as director.

Having also produced Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Vaughn is perceived as one of the hot new talents on the British film-making circuit and certainly knows a thing or two about style.

Vaughn has confirmed that he had held talks about the possibility.

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