Bosses at film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are staying tight-lipped about whether Pierce Brosnan will play 007 in the next James Bond film.
Pierce Brosnan's Bond contract ran out in 2002
President Chris McGurk says "casting issues" are yet to be resolved after Mr Brosnan, 51, was reported as saying he would no longer be 007.
He has played the spy four times since 1995's GoldenEye with Die Another Day, in 2002, ending his contract as Bond.
The 21st Bond film is scheduled for release in November 2005.
This week, he reportedly told Entertainment Weekly's website: "That's it."
The website quotes him as saying: "I've said all I've got to say on the world of James Bond."
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"Bond is another lifetime. Behind me."
But a spokesman for the star refused to comment on the article.
And MGM, which together with Eon productions owns the Bond film and distribution rights, has also refused to count Brosnan out.
McGurk said in a statement that the latest film in the 42-year-old series was still in development.
A script was complete and a director would be hired before the issue of who would play Bond would be addressed, he said.
"At that point, we're going to address the casting issues", he added.
"It's the same process we went through with Die Another Day."
He said producers were ahead of schedule with the new unnamed Bond film compared with Die Another Day.
Official James Bond International Fan Club chairman David Black said he would refuse to believe Brosnan had made his last Bond film until there was official confirmation from Eon or MGM.
MGM relied on the James Bond films to make money and so they may step in to try and keep Brosnan even if Eon thought it was time for a new actor, he said.
"It's very important to find someone who will appeal to the ladies but is also respected by the men", he said.
"If the men don't like him it won't work."
He said he thought any successor to Brosnan should be an Englishman in his early 30s who could "take on the role for 15 years and really make it his own".
THE NEXT BOND?
Clive Owen - 11/4
Hugh Jackman - 3/1
Colin Farrell - 7/2
Orlando Bloom - 5/1
Jude Law - 7/1
Christian Bale - 8/1
Gerard Butler - 8/1
Ewan McGregor - 8/1
Greg Wise - 12/1
Jeremy Northam - 12/1
Russell Crowe - 14/1
Robbie Williams - 100/1
Source: William Hill
Five actors have played the world's favourite super spy, starting with Sean Connery in 1962's Dr No.
Connery, Brosnan and Roger Moore are considered the most successful.
The other two Bonds were Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby.
Die Another Day, co-starring Halle Berry, was the biggest Bond box office hit racking up about $425m (£243m) in worldwide ticket sales.
Following Entertainment Weekly's article, William Hill bookmakers have already drawn up odds on who will be the next James Bond.
Their shortlist includes Scottish actor Gerard Butler, who plays the lead role in the forthcoming Phantom of the Opera film, and King Arthur star Ioan Gruffudd.
The list also includes Colin Salmon, who has already appeared in two Bond films as senior MI6 man Charles Robinson.