“Daniel Craig to quit Bond” has rivalled “Jose Mourinho to become Manchester United boss” as the most long-running saga in the world.
Even before Craig’s typically grudging interviews which accompanied Spectre, it’s seemed certain the craggiest of all the Bonds was set to walk away from 007.
Speculation has centred around Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston and Aidan Turner as favourites for the job.
But now Hiddleston has said that he thinks Craig is going to stay put as Bond after all.
Hiddleston told The Hollywood Reporter: “It’s a national obsession to talk about who should be the next James Bond. Everyone has an opinion on it, basically. But my belief is that Daniel Craig will do many, many more. As far as I’m concerned, he is James Bond.”
Rumours that Hiddleston would replace Craig intensified after his lead role as a spy in BBC1’s recent adaptation of John Le Carre’s thriller The Night Manager. But the actor pointed out a number of differences between Bond and his agent, Jonathan Pine.
“There’s a lot that divides them,” said Hiddleston. “Bond is a trained killer with a licence to kill, and Pine is at the beginning of his relationship with the secret service.
“But in Craig’s incarnation, Bond has become much darker and more haunted by his responsibilities. I think Pine has always had that.”
Idris Elba recently hinted in an exclusive Loaded interview that he thought Craig may have left the role, speaking about Craig in the past tense when the Luther star was quizzed about his favourite Bond.
Craig told the BBC “I’d rather slash my wrists” than play Bond again while he was promoting Spectre. It was his fourth film as Bond, following Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace and Skyfall.
The 48-year-old is set to star in a new TV series, Purity. Filming commitments on that show make it even less likely he would have time to make another Bond film. The next Bond movie will be the 25th 007 adventure.
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn