After recent leaked claims that Norton was already in talks with the Bond producers, it seemed the race was run – and won. However, the British star himself immediately spoke out and claimed there was no truth to it. With the door wide open, there are two other stars standing right at his shoulder and odds were just dramatically cut on one of them. Could Bond be heading back North of the border?
Norton has addressed the reports he had been out with friends celebrating landing the 007 gig.
He told the i newspaper: “I’ve said it many times: the word I use about this is just ‘bizarre’. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t exciting and flattering.”
Norton also denied he had any knowledge of where such rumours about his casting in Bond originated: “I don’t know where it comes from.”
He continued to play down his chance by saying he didn’t struggle with all the pressure: “There’s nothing to cope with.”
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In response, there has been a surge in best for the man who had replaced him last year as hot favourite before slipping behind when all the new rumours emerged.
Bookmaker Coral told Express Online: “Sam Heughan has attracted a flurry of bets and looks to be perfect for James Bond so it is easy to see why we are being knocked over with bets on the Outlander star to play the next 007.
“With Daniel Craig set to step down after No Time To Die, many punters feel as though Heughan is poised and ready to take up the role.”
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Coral released the latest odds to be the next James Bond and revealed James Norton is still just out ahead on 7-4.
Immediately behind him is Outlander star Sam Heughan on 11-4 with Tom Hiddleston showing remarkable staying power after three years at the front of the pack and still looking strong on 7-2.
Bodyguard and Game of Thrones star (and former hot favourite) Richard Madden is still in the race at 10-2, followed by relative newcomer Jack Lowden on 6-1.
Rounding out the rest of the top ten are 8-1 Michael Fassbender, 8-1 Tom Hardy, 10-1 Idris Elba, 10-1 Jamie Bell and 12-1 Aidan Turner.
Although Heughan is most famous for time-travelling drama (and bodice-ripper) Outlander, he has already convincingly played a British secret agent in The Spy Who Dumped Me.
Heughan revealed he would love the chance to bring Bond back to Scotland, reminding everyone it all began with Sean Connery
“I think any actor who says they wouldn’t [want to play Bond] would be lying,” he told STV earlier this year. “I think it’s about time we had a Scottish Bond again.
“I think Fleming had a good connection with Scotland and I believe James Bond was supposed to have been bought up in Scotland.
However, he also acknowledged the number of actors he would have to beat to get the part, saying: “I know I’ve got competition out there, so we’ll see what happens.”
As for the old favourites, it looks like there is no time for them after No Time To Die.
Former frontrunners like Idris Elba and Tom Hardy have continued to slip down and out of the leading odds.
Bond 25 hits cinemas on April 2. Although there is likely to be a break of a few years before any franchise reboot, many tink an announcement will be made this year about who will be stepping into the iconic role.