Idris Elba again heads up the race to play James Bond

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British actor Idris Elba is once again the frontrunner to replace Daniel Craig in the coveted role of James Bond.

The performer, most famous for playing Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell in acclaimed HBO drama series The Wire, can now be backed at 4/1 to don the famous tuxedo directly after Skyfall star Craig.

Fellow Brits Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender complete a trio of market leaders at 5/1 and 6/1 respectively, with the former a frequent collaborator with rumoured future Bond director Christopher Nolan and the latter extremely sought-after following an Oscar and Bafta-nominated performance in 12 Years a Slave.

However, if his forthcoming projects are anything to go by it is 41-year-old Elba who looks best placed to land the role.

The London-born actor fell down the betting following the lukewarm reception that met his portrayal of the late South African leader, but is the market leader once again, with cinemagoers soon to see him strutting his stuff as a spy.

This year will see Elba appear on screens as rogue operative Dupont in the Pierre Morel-directed The Gunman.

Based on a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette, the film will pit Elba and fellow hitman Javier Bardem against lead man Sean Penn in a battle that spans Europe.

While the Londoner may be on the wrong side of right in this particular movie, experience in the spy genre, not to mention working with actors like Penn and Bardem, will certainly put him in the reckoning to play Bond.

Current 007 Craig is due to play the famous MI6 agent for at least two more outings so the recruitment of a replacement could be a few years away yet.

But, with his celebrity status and acting credentials rising by the week, Elba looks a shrewd choice for those looking to get in on the action early.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.