Clive Owen has backed "proper actor" Daniel Craig as James Bond, predicting that his first film as 007 will show "what a great choice he was".
Craig is to play Bond for a second time in a film due out in 2008
Owen, who had been linked to the iconic role before Craig was chosen, told BBC News: "He is not shallow or posing, they have cast a really serious actor."
He said criticism of the choice was inevitable, but that people would "get off his back when the film comes out".
Casino Royale, the 21st official Bond film, opens on 17 November.
"I think when Craig first took the part he got a pretty rough ride, which to a certain extent is inevitable because there are so many different people who have so many different ideas about something like that," said Owen.
"You are never going to please everybody."
But he added: "The thing that is really exciting is that he is a proper actor.
"He is not shallow or posing, they have cast a really serious actor and I think that when the film comes out everyone will see what a great choice he was."
Owen was once a frontrunner for the role of James Bond
The world premiere of Casino Royale, on 14 November at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, has been chosen for the 60th Royal Film Performance.
The film is based on the first of Ian Fleming's celebrated spy novels.
Owen was speaking to the BBC ahead of the release on Friday of his new film Children of Men, a 2027-set thriller that also stars Sir Michael Caine and Julianne Moore.