Regé-Jean Page Is Leading the Odds to Play James Bond
If you’re a British heartthrob with a certain degree of notoriety, chances are, you’re in the running to play James Bond. But where you fall in the taxonomy of Bond wannabes is bigger than just fan chatter—in fact, it’s the subject of an entire cottage industry of gamblers and betting houses, who have been gaming the odds on who will succeed Daniel Craig ever since Craig announced his retirement as 007 two years ago. Though Tom Hardy has been heavily favored as Craig’s replacement, he’s been overtaken in a stunning upset by Regé-Jean Page, the breakout star of Netflix’s Bridgerton.
In odds released by Ladbrokes, Page has leapfrogged Hardy to take evens on becoming 007, while Hardy has slipped to 4/1 odds. Hardy is closely followed in the rankings by Grantchester star James Norton, coming in at 5/1 odds, who was a fan favorite for the role before Page burst onto the scene. Ladbrokes’ Alex Apati commented, "There's a strong chance Bond chiefs have found their man when it comes to Daniel Craig's replacement, with Regé-Jean Page now running away with things in the betting."
Page, for his part, is keeping a level head about the speculation. "Yeah, it gets clicks,” he joked.
Page continued: "It’s got nothing to do with me—nothing to do with anything that has happened in any rooms or any meetings. It’s literally just a thing for people to talk about. So it’s flattering, but it’s just a game.”
It’s not a game to longtime Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who own the spy franchise (jointly with Amazon, a recent development) and exert exacting control over Bond, including who should play the title role, when to make a new film, and whether or not television spinoffs are greenlit (they’ve blocked such efforts in the past). According to The New York Times, “Broccoli and Wilson have final say over every line of dialogue, every casting decision, every stunt sequence, every marketing tie-in, every TV ad, poster and billboard.”
Broccoli teased her plans for the post-Craig Bond universe in an interview with Total Film, saying, “It will have to be reimagined, in the way each actor has reimagined the role. That’s what is so exciting and fun about this franchise; the character evolves. Eventually, when we have to think about it, we’ll find the right person.”
If Page goes out for the part, as Ladbrokes predicts, he can expect the standard screen test for all actors auditioning as Bond and all actresses auditioning as “Bond girls”: the sultry scene from 1963’s From Russia With Love, in which Bond enters the room clad in only a towel, holding a gun, to find his paramour naked in bed. If you don’t buy the odds from Ladbrokes, let the steamy scenes from Bridgerton guarantee it for you—Page will pass the audition with flying colors.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by Esquiremag.ph editors.