There’s A New James Bond Front-Runner Nobody Saw Coming

James Norton

James Norton is now the hot favourite to land the role of James Bond.

The 30-year-old British actor is most famous for his parts as Russian prince Andrei Bolkonsky in the BBC adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace and as the star in U.K. period drama Grantchester, but landing the prestigious 007 job would undoubtedly see his career reach new heights.

James has been linked to the role for several months, but he has only emerged as the frontrunner after both Tom Hiddleston and Poldark star Aidan Turner were rumoured to be out of the race.

Tom has been hitting headlines in recent weeks thanks to his accelerated romance with Taylor Swift. But the public nature of the relationship, including pictures of Tom sporting an “I heart T.S.” tank top, is said to have led to the end of his talks with Bond bosses.

“Tom’s cool performance in The Night Manager saw him as a late contender for 007, but initial talks have come to an end,” a source told Britain’s The Sun newspaper. “Bond needs an air of mystery – his public romance with Taylor has made him totally uncastable.”

Meanwhile, Aidan, who had been a popular choice to play the suave spy if Daniel Craig does choose to step down from the role, ruled himself out of the race when he signed up for a third series of hit U.K. television series Poldark.

James now has odds of 1/3 to land the Bond part, ahead of Aidan at 7/4 and Tom at 9/2, according to bookmakers Paddy Power.

The actor has previously spoke about whether he’d consider playing the iconic spy during an interview with Britain’s The Times newspaper in March (16), explaining: “We would, we would, but I don’t know quite how the conversation would go. I think Daniel Craig said himself, think long and hard about it.”

Although the actor would mull any decision over, James is enjoying being linked to the part, saying, “It’s lovely and very bizarre and flattering to be included in that conversation.”