LONDON – The suspense is almost over. The name of the actor who will take over from Pierce Brosnan (search) in the next James Bond (search) film will be revealed Friday at a press conference, Sony Pictures said Thursday.
British tabloid reports this week said the role in "Casino Royale" (search) will go to Daniel Craig, a blue-eyed British actor who would be the first blond Bond.
Craig, 37, co-starred with Tom Hanks and Paul Newman in "Road to Perdition," played poet Tom Hughes opposite Gwyneth Paltrow's Sylvia Plath in "Sylvia," and appeared in this year's thriller "The Jacket" with Adrien Brody.
He is also the tabloids' dream Bond. He once dated headline-grabbing supermodel Kate Moss and has been linked to Sienna Miller, the on-off fiancee of Jude Law and Craig's "Layer Cake" co-star.
"Casino Royale," the 21st Bond film, will be directed by Martin Campbell, who also directed Brosnan's first Bond outing, 1995's "GoldenEye."
Other actors named as possible 007 contenders include Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Eric Bana.
Producers announced last year that they were seeking a replacement for Brosnan. The 52-year-old actor played the suave British spy in the last four Bond films, including 2002's "Die Another Day."
"Casino Royale" is expected to be released next year.