Date: 26th June 2001
Gladiator (2000) star RUSSELL CROWE is the bookies favourite to succeed Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.
Crowe, 27, who played Gladiator MAXIMUS in the multi Oscar- winning Roman epic, has been installed as 3/1 favourite to land every actor's dream role.
The granite-jawed New Zealand-born hunk is viewed as the ideal 007 because of his appeal to both sexes. Having had his hardman image firmly established thanks to hard- hitting roles in GLADIATOR (2000) and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997), Crowe is also a legendary womaniser whose past girlfriends include actress MEG RYAN and rock chick COURTNEY LOVE.
He's seen by his many female fans as a rough diamond. His tough guy good looks would ensure the superspy remained a sex symbol. Leading Brits believed to be in contention for the part include JEREMY NORTHAM who starred opposite GWYNETH PALTROW in EMMA (1996) and COLIN WELLS, who is currently playing JAKE BOOTH in British TV soap CROSSROADS.
Movie bosses at MGM are understood to be keen to line up a high profile replacement for PIERCE BROSNAN who is expected to do one more Bond film before passing on the mantle. (HM/WN/LE)