James Bond fans seem keen to substitute Daniel Craig for a female 007 after No Time To Die, with bets on one actress in particular surprising bookies by holding steady. While she’s far from being favourite for the job, Emilia Clarke has held her place as a 20-1 shot, having had odds slashed from 100-1 last week.
Alex Apati from Ladbrokes told Express.co.uk the Star Wars and Game of Thrones actress would have been expected to have dropped off the radar somewhat, down to around 33-1 or 50-1, but unexpectedly high interest over the past couple of days means she’s staying near the top of the list for now.
This indicates an unforeseen demand for Clarke to take over as the first ever female Bond.
If 007 bosses are in agreement, the interest could lead to a controversial casting after Craig steps down from the role.
Bets on Clarke spiked last week after she enthused about the idea of joining the franchise as the lead.
READ MORE: JAMES BOND 25: FIRST BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE
Asked if she would consider the role in an interview with Empire Magazine, she said: “Yeah! Of course! Hell to the yeah!
“James Bond is one of those franchises where it’s never not cool,” she continued. “You could literally make the naffest James Bond in the world and it would still be cool.”
Meanwhile, the frontrunners also remain the same in the betting for the next 007, with newcomer Sam Heughan maintaining the top spot.
The Scottish actor charged into first place recently, overtaking the likes of James Norton, Richard Madden and Tom Hiddleston.
“I think we’ve watched the guys do it for the last 40 years,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “Get out of the way, guys, and put a woman up there!”
However, despite his enthusiasm for the idea, the Die Another Day star admitted he didn’t think the controversial casting decision would be made under the franchise’s current creative control.
Firmly on the other side of the fence is The Living Daylights actor John Rhys-Davies, who played General Pushkin in the 1987 film.
“My heart quakes at the thought of a female Bond,” he told Express.co.uk. “That would seem to me to be not quite what the author originally intended.”
While he isn’t for a female 007, Rhys-Davies did concede that actors shouldn’t challenge the audience’s desires, quoting Samuel Johnson in saying: “But, ‘The drama’s laws, the drama’s patrons give, for we that live to please must please to live.’ And that’s the rule for it all.”
He isn’t the only Bond actor to share their disinterest in seeing a female take on the role, as M star Judi Dench also wasn’t keen when she was asked last year.
“I think it should be a man,” she told The Sun. “But who knows.”
James Bond: No Time To Die will be released in UK cinemas April 3 2020.