Bond franchise may get a second Scot

| AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 21 May 2019

Game of Thrones heartthrob Richard Madden tried to bat off mounting speculation that he will be the next James Bond as Daniel Craig bows out after eight years as 007.

The actor turned heads on the Cannes film festival red carpet in a Bond-style white tuxedo.

But the charismatic Scot - whose accent closely resembles that of the original 007, Sean Connery - coyly brushed off the rumors when he appeared at a news conference for the Elton John biopic Rocketman.

However, neither did Madden rule it out in a retort likely to further fuel speculation.

"It's very flattering to be involved in that conversation, but it's all just talk and next week I'm sure it will be someone different," he said as Rocketman co-star star Taron Egerton, who plays Elton John, began humming the Bond music.

The white tuxedo was immortalized by Connery, who wore it at the start of Goldfinger, with the style becoming one of the spy's most famous looks.

In the critically acclaimed Rocketman, Madden plays Elton John's controversial lover and manager John Reid.

The dashing actor further teased comment with revealing photos of himself preparing for his Cannes premiere, his bathrobe opened provocatively to the thigh.

Madden starred in Game of Thrones as the ill-fated King Robb Stark, and last year led the cast of hit BBC drama The Bodyguard, a taut political thriller. The latter role won him a Golden Globe award.

Madden is the British bookmakers' favorite to play Bond with odds of 3/1 from William Hill, Betfair and Paddy Power.

He is closely followed by Tom Hiddleston who starred in The Night Manager. British actors Idris Elba and James Norton and Irishman Cillian Murphy fall further behind.

Bookies are also taking bets on some female actresses, including Emily Blunt, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who wrote BBC drama Killing Eve, and Angelina Jolie.

The long-awaited new Bond film is due for release in April 2020, but its creators have yet to announce its title. It will be the 25th film in one of the world's most enduring franchises, and Craig's last outing as the world's favorite spy.

Oscar winner Rami Malek has been cast as the villain and Ralph Fiennes returns as Bond's boss M. Also returning to the cast is French actress Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw as gadget-savvy spook Q.

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