Hardy seems to have been everywhere recently. As well as a block-busting return as Venom in Let There Be Carnage (and a cheeky cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home) he even popped up this week at a MiniGolf (yes, really) cafe in Saltburn, with a licence to thrill the excited owner, Andrew Smith. Celebs are randomly mixing with the masses this month with the Beckhams and Madonna spotted at London’s Winter Wonderland while John Legend and Chrissy Teigen spent Christmas in the Cotswolds. Meanwhile, all the signs point to Hardy heading for more glamorous locations if he takes over as James Bond.
Ever since Craig threatened not to return after 2015’s SPECTRE, speculation has feverishly focussed on who would step in the spy’s tuxedo next. Now that the actor has officially left the role after an explosive and conclusive exit (there’s no way coming back from that, even if he wanted to), who will be the seventh Bond?
Hardy has been a hot favourite since the start but was recently knocked out of contention by Bridgerton’s Regé Jean Page while Superman and Witcher icon Cavill publicly declared his hopes for 007 glory. But the latest odds reveal that the Venom star still has a sting in his tail as he surges back clear out in front of all comers again.
The rest of the field is made up of a closely bunched gang of impressive big names and action credentials.
Square-jawed regulars Richard Madden, fresh from headlining The Eternals and Grantchester’s James Norton are tied at 6/1.
Dancing into place just behind Cavill at 7/1 is Billy Elliot’s Jamie Bell, followed by the fast-rising Spider-Man superstar Tom Holland.
Holland is one to watch, having been far out of contention until this month until the spectacular success of his third solo Spidey film changed everything. It had the second-biggest opening of all time and has already passed one billion dollars at the global box office – the only film to do so this year.
Holland has been very open about his dreams to play Bond ever since he landed the Marvel role and his Spidey castmates have confirmed he still talks about it.
Cavill, similarly, has been upfront about his desire to get behind the wheel of that Aston Martin, saying: “If Barbara [Bond producer Barbara Broccoli] and Mike [co-producer Michael G Wilson] were interested in that, I would absolutely jump at the opportunity. At this stage, it’s all up in the air. We’ll see what happens. But yes, I would love to play Bond, it would be very, very exciting.”
Asked again this month while he was promoting the return of The Witcher, he confirmed that the subject was still very much “on the table.”
Hardy is one of the few stars who has remained relatively quiet on his hopes of being Bond. All betting was actually suspended late in 2020 when news spread that he had, apparently, already been offered the part. But the producers have categorically insisted they would not start the search until Craig’s tenure was over.
That time has come. Has the next Bond just been spotted buying a double espresso from Saltburn MiniGolf cafe? If only owner Mr Smith could tell us whether he ordered it shaken, not stirred…