Cillian Murphy

Just when it seemed that Tom Hiddleston had the role all sewn-up, a new name has jumped to the top of the list of potential candidates to play James Bond. Irish actor Cillian Murphy, previously considered a long shot, is now very much in the frame to portray the world’s favourite spy.

This week bookmaker Paddy Power slashed the odds on Murphy taking the role, now considering him to be joint favourite with Hiddleston at 5/4.

Best known to the public for his role as Tommy Shelby in historical gangster hit Peaky Blinders, Murphy also has considerable film experience. He starred in Sunshine and 28 Days Later for Danny Boyle and has appeared in numerous Christopher Nolan films, including Batman, Inception and Dunkirk.

But Does Murphy Want It?

Murphy certainly has the intensity and charisma needed for the role, though fans who have got used to Daniel Craig’s “Beefcake Bond” might find his build a little slim. Despite Murphy’s boyish looks, he may also be a little too old for the part. Bond producers are rumoured to want to get at least four films out of whoever they cast; given the protracted film-making process, that would mean signing up for at least 10 years. Murphy turns 43 next month so his tenure would push him deep into his 50s.

Murphy is also known for shunning publicity and showbusiness razzmatazz. It seems doubtful that he would welcome the inevitable press intrusion that taking on such an iconic role would bring.

Still in the running is the less known James Norton at 12/5 and Richard Madden at 3/1. Fan-choice Idris Elba is at 5/1.