Before he charmed the world as Outlander’s Jamie Fraser, Sam Heughan found himself competing for another literary adaptation. As it turns out, when casting for 2006’s Casino Royale was underway, Heughan was one of the many hopefuls who tried out for the spot Daniel Craig would eventually inhabit. With No Time To Die leaving the post vacant once again, Heughan feels now is as good a time as any to pick up the 007 mantle, as he’s more confident he’d be able to do the role justice than he was during those initial auditions.

Sam Heughan was recently a guest on the podcast Just The Facts with Alex Zane, and the two had one of those chats that you can only have with a friend/interviewer. So naturally, talk about the James Bond rumors that seem to surround Outlander’s central heartthrob was bound to kick up, and the actor was game for it. Delicately approaching the subject, Heughan made his case with the following:

There’s a long list, right? It’s one of those things, isn’t it? You don’t want to talk about it, because there isn’t anything to talk about. It’s all media, and there’s no weight to it at all, there’s no truth to it. Having said that, you can’t help but then think, ‘God, that would be amazing.’ And I have been up for Bond, I went up for it when they did Bond 21. It was an amazing experience and I was completely out of my depth. But I think now I feel the right age for it, I feel capable enough to do it, I’d love the opportunity to throw my hat in the ring.

Around the time that Casino Royale would have been casting in 2005, Sam Heughan would have been around 25 years old. Mostly working in the world of TV at the time, the fresh-faced actor was part of a huge field that apparently saw names like Ewan McGregor, Karl Urban and Henry Cavill all competing to succeed Pierce Brosnan. But eventually, that same year would show Daniel Craig as the victor, inaugurating the reboot era of James Bond’s current run.

Still, you could see how Sam Heughan would be a bit intimidated by such an opportunity early on in his career. It’s the same sort of attitude that saw Timothy Dalton pass on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, as he also felt it was too soon. With history poised to repeat itself, Heughan feels he’s better off throwing his proverbial hat into the ring in this current round of casting. Should he be offered the role, Heughan already has an idea on how he’d approach the role in his incarnation, saying:

Sam Heughan in SAS: Red Notice and Daniel Craig in No Time To Die aiming their guns off camera.

He’s a fascinating character, and I think that [when] you look back at the books, he’s actually not a very likable man. He’s a bit of a psychopath himself, and I think that’s why I loved [SAS: Red Notice] having any source material, having something to draw upon ... We had Andy McNabb, this Special Forces operator, and his books; so much to draw upon. I think any project like that is great, when you get source material. So Bond would be good because you have the books, obviously, to go back on. But yeah, anything like that’s a gift for an actor.

It absolutely cannot be denied anymore: Sam Heughan is interested in becoming Daniel Craig’s successor for the role of James Bond. Though one really has to ask themselves, was there ever any doubt that he wanted the honors? So with that in mind, it’s time to look at the playing field that Mr. Heughan faces ahead of him for the 007 mantle.

Recently, the likes of Venom: Let There Be Carnage’s Tom Hardy and former Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page have been burying the needle with oddsmakers. Hardy’s odds were once so good at one point, betting was suspended, though Page seems to have the upper hand in the most current round. But if you look at some of the fan polls running around on the internet, including one that Radio Times conducted recently, Sam Heughan still has quite a bit of juice in the James Bond race.

All of this, plus his role in SAS: Red Notice, have put Sam Heughan into a prime position to play James Bond. Though between Outlander duties taking up a good portion of his time and Heughan’s age potentially putting a ticking clock on his candidacy, the 41-year-old actor might find himself upstaged by competition that can make a longer, more exclusive commitment to the 007 franchise. Yet again, all bets are off at this point, and no one has a real inside track as to what’s going on. But as far as Heughan’s potential hiring is concerned, he’s certainly built the confidence, and the resume, to make himself a tough contender in the months to come.

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