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Gingerfinger: Damien Lewis new bookies’ favourite for next James Bond

Bookmakers have slashed odds on Damien Lewis becoming the next James Bond after a flurry of large bets on the Homeland star.

William Hill now has Lewis as short as 6/4 to follow Daniel Craig as 007 amid speculation that forthcoming movie Spectre could be the 47-year-old’s final stint as the suave British spy. Lewis is now the favourite for the role ahead of Idris Elba, 42 (5/2), Tom Hardy, 37 (4/1), Henry Cavill, 32 (5/1) and Michael Fassbender, 38 (7/1).

Craig is thought to be contracted for at least one more movie after Spectre, but might choose to go out on a high if Sam Mendes’ return to the director’s chair proves as successful as his last outing, the $1bn Skyfall. The Oscar-winning British film-maker’s second 007 movie is widely predicted to be one of the year’s biggest releases.

Hackney-born Elba, best known for turns in The Wire and BBC crime drama Luther, was the previous frontrunner to play Bond. But he appeared to rule himself out in April, telling an audience at London’s British Film Institute that he had given up on getting the call from 007 production company Eon. “If there was ever any chance of me getting Bond, it’s gone,” said Elba, further suggesting the longstanding rumour was “really starting to eat itself”.

Meanwhile, studios MGM and Sony have released a new behind-the-scenes set video for Spectre which confirms that the new film’s opening sequence takes place at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City.

“I wanted the audience to be dropped right into the middle of a very, very specific, very heady, rich environment,” said Mendes. “It’s the Day of the Dead, everywhere you look there’s colour and detail and life. We’ve built floats and maquettes, the costumes are extraordinary and the craftsmanship is amazing.”

Spectre, the 24th official Bond movie, stars Craig opposite double Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz as likely villain Franz Oberhauser, Monica Bellucci, Léa Seydoux and Stephanie Sigman, as well as the returning Ralph Fiennes (as the new M), Naomie Harris (Moneypenny) and Ben Whishaw (Q). The new adventure, released on November 6, sees 007 visiting Mexico City, Rome and Sölden in the Austrian Alps.


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