Jeff Labrecque
April 18, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Who’s that hunk they’re calling Bond? Ever since Pierce Brosnan said he’s finished playing James Bond, every Tom, Dick, and Hugh with a brogue or lilt has been rumored to replace him. But unlike previous reports, recent British tabloid stories have had actor Daniel Craig cast and signed to a three-picture deal. Practically unknown here, Craig is well regarded in his native Britain. His rep denies the story, and Variety speculated April 7 that Brosnan may be in negotiations to star in two more Bond films. Still, the Craig rumor persists. The studio’s no help: ”When we have something to announce, we’ll announce it,” says a Sony rep. Right now, the company has bigger martinis to shake: Sony officially shares control of the Bond franchise since its April 8 acquisition of MGM/UA. All of which leaves us wanting to know more about the latest man who would be Bond.

BIRTHPLACE Chester, England

AGE 37

WHERE YOU MAY HAVE SEEN HIM As Lara Croft’s love interest in the first Tomb Raider or as Paul Newman’s deceitful son in Road to Perdition.

GWYNETH PALTROW CONNECTION Craig costarred opposite Paltrow as Sylvia Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes, in Sylvia, and he just wrapped Douglas McGrath’s Truman Capote pic with Paltrow and Sandra Bullock.

ROMANTIC LEAD CREDENTIALS In the 2004 indie film The Mother, he played a carpenter wooing a woman twice his age and her daughter.

COMING SOON He stars as a gangster (who romances Sienna Miller) in the Sundance fave Layer Cake (due May 13).

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