Tom Hiddleston: "I Love" James Bond, Playing Role Would Be "Extraordinary Opportunity"

The Night Manager H 2016

The Night Manager H 2016

British bookmakers slash their odds on the actor becoming the next 007 following his "Bond-ish" role in John Le Carre adaptation 'The Night Manager,' although Tom Hardy and Idris Elba are still seen as favorites.

While much of the chatter about who will next play James Bond, should Daniel Craig end his run in the iconic role, has been focused on Idris Elba, another British actor has seen his 007 star rise in recent weeks.

Tom Hiddleston, whose name has often been linked to the iconic role, has further stirred Bond rumors thanks to his lead role in The Night Manager, the six-part adaptation of John Le Carre's spy thriller currently airing on the BBC in the U.K. (it's due to air on AMC in the U.S. in April).

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Hiddleston — who plays an undercover agent attempting to infiltrate the inner circle of a major international arms dealer — fueled the speculation by saying he was a "huge fan" of the Bond series and would jump at the chance to be involved.

"I simply love the theme tune, the tropes and the mythology. I love the whole thing," he said, adding that he went to watch Spectre while shooting Skull Island in Hawaii. "If it ever came knocking, it would be an extraordinary opportunity. And I’m very aware of the physicality of the job. I would not take it lightly."

Hiddleston's role in the The Night Manager, produced by U.K. banner The Ink Factory (run by Le Carre's sons) at a cost of some $30 million, has seen British betting shops slash their odds of him becoming Bond. Bookmakers William Hill cut his price from 25/1 to 10/1, although the actor still trails favorite Tom Hardy, followed by Elba, Damian Lewis, Aiden Turner and Henry Cavill in most outlets.

"There are some very Bond-ish elements to The Night Manager, and the producers of the next 007 movie will surely be keeping an eye on Hiddleston’s performance in case Daniel Craig decides to step down," said a William Hill representative, adding that his odds could go shorter in the coming weeks.

Last month, Craig sparked further chatter that he would quit 007 when he signed up to take a major part in Jonathan Franzen's 20-part TV adaptation of his book Purity. The actor had previously claimed he would rather "slash my wrists" than do another Bond film, although he later backtracked, saying he was still enjoying the role and that he would keep going for "as long as I'm physically able."