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The Race for the Next James Bond Is On

new-007

MGM

You know how there are people in this world who cherish competition so much that they’ll make a contest out of literally anything? Well, apparently that goes as far as betting on who is poised to take on the coveted role of 007 himself: James Bond.

And if you think about it, that totally makes sense. Bond has been an iconic character of Ian Fleming’s novels and dozens of films for over 50 years. He’s the savvy, smooth-talking hero every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with — and there are plenty of capable men who would wear the tux well.

Thankfully, UK bookies have been keeping a watchful eye on tons of contenders, and a new favorite has now emerged from the batch. And it is… drumroll please…

Damian Lewis! The former Homeland and current Wolf Hall leading man has suddenly dropped down from 25/1 to become the favorite, with odds as short at 6/4. For comparison’s sake, here’s how he stacks up against the next four guys trailing his lead:

Idris Elba: 5/2
Tom Hardy: 4/1
Henry Cavill: 5/1
Michael Fassbender: 7/1

It should be noted, however, that the list of actors being sized up for the role also includes Orlando Bloom, Andrew Lincoln, Dan Stevens, Richard Armitage, Hugh Dancy, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston, Jamie Dornan, Christian Bale, Dominic Cooper, Jude Law… basically, if you are a British male actor, you’re probably on this list. That’s how many dudes there are. And in fact, some Americans have weaseled their way on there, like Jon Hamm and Chris Evans.

A spokesman from the British bookmaker William Hill told The Hollywood Reporter that Lewis’ sudden drop was due to several large, unexpected bets.

“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,” the spokesman said. “This could well be significant and might herald the end of Daniel Craig as the world’s most famous spy.”

Craig, 47, will star in November’s SPECTRE, and is believed to be contracted for one more Bond-film after that. Interestingly enough, his “Bond” casting caused some backlash in 2005 from fans who were put off by a blond Bond — and Lewis is a redhead.

But who knows — maybe Lewis can prove once and for all that gingers not only have souls, but they know how to kick some major ass, too.

INNERSPACE CLIPS