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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 15:30 GMT
Actor Jackman is Bond favourite
Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman is favourite with both Labroke's and William Hill
Australian actor Hugh Jackman has emerged as favourite to become the movie world's next James Bond.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill have cut their odds to 2/1 to make Jackman the favourite to take over from the current 007, Pierce Brosnan.

It would make Jackman the second Australian actor after George Lazenby to play the secret agent.

Clive Owen has had his odds cut by both bookmakers after his Golden Globe-winning role in the film Closer.

William Hill now has him in third place - behind Star Wars star Ewan McGregor - after Sunday's awards at 4/1, down from 8/1.

Ladbrokes cut his odds from 14/1 down to 8/1 after the win for best supporting actor.

1 Hugh Jackman - 2/1 (William Hill and Ladbrokes)
2= Ewan McGregor - 7/2 (William Hill)
2= Colin Farrell - 7/2 (Ladbrokes)
4= Clive Owen - 4/1 (William Hill)
4= Chris Feeney - 4/1 (Ladbrokes)
Ladbrokes and William Hill

"Hugh Jackman certainly appears to be the punters choice but we've seen more twists than the average Bond movie," said a Ladbrokes spokesman.

"At one point or another, Colin Farrell, Colin Salmon, Dougray Scott, Eric Bana and Ewan McGregor have been subject to serious support for the role," he said.

William Hill said if Owen went on to win Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars next month "he will be our arch enemy".

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."

"Last year, a source told us that the producers had a list of ten actors that they were looking at."

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