The Night Manager (Photo: amc.com)

Yesterday, Spectre and Skyfall star Daniel Craig made headlines, entering talks to star in a non-James Bond film from director Steven Soderbergh. Given his various statements about the franchise, it was hard not to see the move as Craig signalling his ongoing lack-of-desire to ever again hop in a tux and trade faux-friendly dialogue with flamboyant, monologue-prone supervillains. (Also, his desire to be in Steven Soderbergh movies about high-stakes NASCAR heists.)

Well, cold-eyed, rakish Brits aren’t the only ones who can use “talks” as a weapon in the ongoing fight over the franchise’s destiny. Operating from an anonymous source close to the actor, Birth. Movies. Death. is reporting that long-rumored new-Bond frontrunner Tom Hiddleston has now entered “advanced” discussions with the franchise’s producers, centered on his taking the part of the many-faced superspy.

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Hiddleston’s name has come up increasingly often in James Bond casting rumors, owing to his Avengers-fueled popularity, his stated desire for the part, and his recent, well-regarded espionage turn in AMC’s John Le Carré adaptation The Night Manager. (Also, he’s British, male, and “suave”—a.k.a., white—which counts for a lot among certain people.) Hiddleston’s apparently been meeting with Eon Productions, the studio that produces the Bond movies, for a while now, but no formal decisions have been made. As per the B.M.D. report, it’s still not entirely clear whether Eon’s pursuit of Hiddleston is a good-faith effort to bring the hot young star aboard (before he can lower his public cachet with any more misguided biopics about country music stars), or if it’s all part of a scheme to make Craig jealous, and refill his notoriously depleted fuckometer towards the part.