Before you get too excited about bookies and 007…

Colin Salmon: at one point in 2005 he was a 13-4 favorite

Colin Salmon: at one point in 2005 he was a 13-4 favorite

For the past few months, many stories have been generated by the changing odds from bookies about who the next James Bond will be.

The problem: Their track record wasn’t so great last time, after Pierce Brosnan’s license to thrill wasn’t renewed by Eon Productions co-bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.

The BBC, on Jan. 18, 2005, posted a story saying that U.K. bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill had installed Hugh Jackman as a 2-1 favorite.

Other contenders at that time, according to the BBC: Ewan McGregor (7-2 at William Hill), Colin Ferrell (7-2 at Ladbrokes), Clive Owen (4-1 at William Hill) and Chris Feeney (4-1 at Ladbrokes).

Two months later, The Atlantic’s website delved into the subject, using as its main source. The favorite was actually a familiar face, Colin Salmon, who appeared as aide to M in three 007 films with Pierce Brosnan.

Ewan McGregor was the favorite until an Internet rumor sparked fervent betting that Colin Salmon, Brosnan’s costar in Die Another Day, would be cast as the first black Bond.

As a result, Salmon’s odds were put at 13-4. Other high ranking favorites included Ewan McGregor at 4-1, Christian Bale at 9-2, Colin Ferrell at 9-1, Orlando Bloom at 11-1 and Jude Law at 11-1.

Of course, the part went to Daniel Craig, whose casting for Casino Royale was announced in October of that year.

We’ll say this again: Bookies don’t know what’s going to happen. Their odds are based on the activity of bettors, who don’t know know what’s going to happen.

Having said that, there is an amusing passage in the BBC story near the end.

The betting for the next Bond comes amidst a reported power struggle between the Broccoli family – who produce the films – and studio MGM.

“Who takes on the role could well depend on who comes out top in the power struggle behind the scenes,” said the Ladbrokes spokesman.

“If the Broccoli family win we could well see an unknown actor, while if the money men have their way we could see a top star in the role.”

Still, when it comes to the wisdom of bookies, caveat emptor.

Blog says it has `true low down’ on Bond 23; author dubbed ‘world’s worst film critic’ by U.K.’s Guardian

Now that Bond 23 is officially back on, with a 2012 release date, the rumor mill is starting to crank it up. The Pittsburgh Film Industry Examiner says it has the “true low down” on Bond 23, including an effort to replace Daniel Craig as agent 007 before it was announced this week he’d star in his third James Bond movie. Before anyone accepts the blog post as gospel, however, the term caveat emptor — let the buyer beware — comes to mind.

The Web blog post by Fiore Mastracci has this passage:

The first battle staged over BOND 23 had to do with its star, Daniel Craig. There was a concerted effort to oust Craig as Bond and insert Clive Owen. Owen has coveted the role for some time and was on the original short list of possible Bonds before Craig was selected. Craig fell out of favor with (Barbara) Broccoli and MGM with two ill timed incidents.

The reasons Mastracci cites get into National Enquirer territory. If you want to check it out, feel free to click the above link to Mastracci’s post. It should be also noted that Barbara Broccoli, co-chief of Eon Productions with her half-brother Michael G. Wilson, has previously declared that Craig is the best James Bond ever.

More reason to be wary: Mastracci doesn’t enjoy universal respect. The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. ran a article in 2009 calling Mastracci the world’s worst film critic. The Guardian article has this passage:

This guy had his own cable show in Pittsburgh. He was – God help us – a teacher on the subject of film. The reviews on his blog – Fiore Mastracci’s Outtakes – actually counted towards the rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Mastracci says the other Bond 23 battle is a competition between Paramount and Sony’s Columbia Pictures to be the studio to distribute the 2012 007 film for Metro-Goldway-Mayer. The Hollywood Reporter has already reported Paramount’s interest. Columbia distributed Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, so it’s hardly a stretch the Sony-owned studio would be interested.

UPDATE: BBC America, on its Web page, has a post about rumored Bond 23 casting, including a return of Judi Dench as M and what we thought was an old rumor, Michael Sheen being considered as Blofeld. You can read it by CLICKING HERE.