Hugh Jackman Front-runner for next James Bond

Late October there were several reports that Hugh Jackman was being named along with 3 British actors to play the next James Bond, but we thought it was worth mentioning again as it looks more likely. The stories are resurfacing and Hugh leads the pack! J
Bond. Hugh Bond?
Plus, Jinx gets nixed.

October 27, 2003 - According to the IMDb (via WENN), Eon Productions has pegged X-Men star Hugh Jackman as its frontrunner to replace Pierce Brosnan as the next James Bond. The Aussie thesp is reportedly "at the top" of a list of possible successors the 007 filmmakers have drawn up. "He's got everything the producers are looking for – dark good looks, an athletic build, a sense of humor and box-office clout. At 35, he is also the right age," the IMDb claims.

Four British thesps were also said to be in the running but have now been "eliminated": oft-mentioned contender Clive Owen, his King Arthur co-star Ioan Gruffudd, Owen's Gosford Park pal Jeremy Northam, and Master and Commander's Paul Bettany. Owen recently advised the Toronto Sun that he's never been officially approached for the role despite rumors to the contrary.

The site's source said "Owen lacks the necessary lightness of touch to make Bond a box-office success. ... [Bettany is] strawberry blond – and there's never been a blond 007." Former Bond director Lewis Gilbert advised WENN that, "You can't have someone too young playing Bond because they would never be believable in the part. And the chances of getting a superstar like Russell Crowe are slim because he'll be too expensive, he'll have all sorts of projects lined up and is unlikely to want to commit to making a series of films. Hugh Jackman clearly fits the bill."

Whomever lands the coveted role is "just gonna have to wait" for Brosnan to exit the franchise, according to comments Brosnan himself recently made to Channel 4 Film.

In related news, today's Variety reports that the Bond spin-off Jinx has been axed by MGM. The spin-off would have starred Halle Berry as her Die Another Day character, the CIA agent Jinx. Stephen Frears was in talks to direct from a screenplay by Bond vets Neal Purvis and Rob Wade. MGM reportedly wants to just focus on the next James Bond movie instead. That pic begins filming in January 2005 for a holiday '05 release. No director has been hired yet.
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