The new 'James Bond' film has been officially axed.

In April, production on the 23rd movie about the suave spy - who was to be portrayed by Daniel Craig for the third time - had been postponed due to "financial problems" at movie studio MGM, but now it has been cancelled altogether.

An insider told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "Members of the production crew have been told the Bond film has been canned. There is a lot of bad feeling as a lot of time, money and hard work has already gone into this."

Sam Mendes had been lined up to direct the movie but now it could be years before 007 is back on the big screen.

Production company EON said in a statement: "We do not know when development will resume and cannot comment further at this stage."

MGM is said to be in $3.7 billion worth of debt and at the moment six years is the biggest gap between films, from 1989's 'Licence to Kill' and 'Goldeneye', which came out in 1995.

The screenplay for 'Bond 23' was worked on by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade - who had previously scripted 'Quantum of Solace' and 'Casino Royale' - and 'Frost/Nixon' writer Peter Morgan.