While rumors have swirled for months about just who will be taking over the James Bond franchise from current 007 Daniel Craig, one surprising new name is apparently on the top of the list.

UK tabloid The Sun (via The Daily Mail) reports that actor Jamie Bell has been in talks with longtime Bond producer Barbara Broccoli about the possibility of taking the keys to 007's Aston Martin. According to the report, Broccoli and Bell are currently working together on Bell's new film, "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," and the producer was "impressed by his skills." Deadline later confirmed that talks between Bell and Bond producers are indeed taking place.

Bell had been rumored to be joining the Bond franchise before, back when 2012's "Skyfall" was in production, playing a rival rookie agent opposite Craig's 007. That role never materialized, though if the actor winds up as Bond this time around, he'll obviously be getting a better star-making vehicle.

Of course, all this depends on Craig actually bowing out of the franchise, something the actor has declined to make truly official, despite lots of inflammatory statements to the contrary during the 2015 "Spectre" press tour. And then there's the matter of the other, more high-profile candidates who have been in the mix longer than Bell, including current front-runner Tom Hiddleston.

According to Deadline, there's been no movement yet on production of the next Bond flick, due to the fact that there's currently no studio, no director, and "no workable script." Negotiations aren't expected to really start until later this year, the trade reports, and there may be an entirely new name making headlines by then (or perhaps even Craig himself, who's reportedly holding off on making a definitive decision on his Bond future until more behind-the-scenes talent is firmly in place). Stay tuned to see how this all shakes (not stirs) out.

[via: The Sun via The Daily Mail, Deadline]

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