The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Secrecy shrouds next 007

Los Angeles, July 30 (Reuters): Mum’s the word, 007.

Film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc yesterday kept its lips pursed as tight as any secret agent with a licence to kill on whether Pierce Brosnan would play James Bond in the next superspy movie set for release in November 2005.

The Irish-born actor has portrayed the fictional hero of the multi-billion dollar film franchise four times since 1995’s GoldenEye, but this week he said he has holstered his gun for good. “That’s it,” he told Entertainment Weekly magazine in a story published on Tuesday on its website. “I’ve said all I’ve got to say on the world of James Bond. Bond is another lifetime,” the 51-year-old actor said, adding: “Behind me.”

But in the world of covert espionage (i.e. Bond movies and Hollywood deals), things are rarely what they appear. MGM, which, along with EON Productions, owns the Bond movie rights and distributes the films, has not yet counted Brosnan out.

MGM vice-chairman Chris McGurk told reporters and financial analysts that the company and EON are still developing the 21st Bond film in the 42-year-old series.

A script was complete, a director was being hired and then they would see about Bond. “At that point, we’re going to address casting issues. It’s the same process we went through with Die Another Day,” McGurk said.

Since 1962’s original Bond flick, Dr. No starring Sean Connery, five actors have played the spy first made popular in Ian Fleming’s novels. Connery (Goldfinger and Thunderball), Roger Moore (The Spy Who Loved Me) and Brosnan have been the most successful.

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