Australian actor Hugh Jackman has emerged as favourite to become the next James Bond, with bookmakers tipping him to take over from departing 007 PIERCE BROSNAN.

Leading British bookmakers LADBROKES and WILLIAM HILL are offering odds of 2/1 on the SWORDFISH star slipping into the superspy's famous tuxedo for his next big screen outing - ahead of CLOSER star Clive Owen and third favourite EWAN McGREGOR.

A Ladbrokes spokesperson says, "Hugh Jackman certainly appears to be the punters choice but we've seen more twists than the average Bond movie.

"At one point or another, Colin Farrell, Colin Salmon, Dougray Scott, ERIC BANA and Ewan McGregor have been subject to serious support for the role.

A decision on who will replace Brosnan has been delayed while a power struggle wages between Bond movie makers the BROCCOLI family and MGM over who should be offered the role.

The spokesperson adds, "Who takes on the role could well depend on who comes out top in the power struggle behind the scenes.

"If the Broccoli family win we could well see an unknown actor, while if the money men have their way we could see a top star in the role.

"Last year, a source told us that the producers had a list of ten actors that they were looking at."

19/01/2005 02:58