Brosnan plans to hang up the superspy's famous tuxedo when filming concludes on the next installment in the series - and X-MEN star Jackman is thought to be top of the list of potential replacements.
A source at 007 movie makers EON says, "A lost of possible successors has been drawn up, and Hugh is at the top. He's got everything the producers are looking for - dark good looks, an athletic build, a sense of humour and box-office clout. At 35, he is also the right age."
The source explains, "Owen lacks the necessary lightness of touch to make Bond a box-office success."
While Bettany is "strawberry blond - and there's never been a blond 007".
Bond director Lewis Gilbert adds, "You can't have someone too young playing Bond because they would never be believable in the part.
"And the chances of getting a superstar like Russell Crowe are slim because he'll be too expensive, he'll have all sorts of projects lined up and is unlikely to want to commit to making a series of films. Hugh Jackman clearly fits the bill."26/10/2003 14:12