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Studio Not Counting Out Brosnan As 007

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Will he or won’t he – or is Pierce Brosnan just holding up Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for more money?

As of Thursday, MGM was M-U-M on whether Brosnan, 51, would play James Bond in the next 007 adventure set for release in November 2005, reports Reuters.

The Irish-born actor has portrayed the fictional hero of the multi-billion dollar film franchise four times since 1995’s GoldenEye. The last outing was 2002’s Die Another Day, a $425 million worldwide hit that somehow now seems better remembered for Halle Berry’s appearance in a bikini.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Brosnan said of his Bond days: “That’s it. I’ve said all I’ve got to say on the world of James Bond. … Bond is another lifetime. Behind me.”

MGM Vice Chairman Chris McGurk has not ruled out casting Brosnan once again. Speaking to reporters and financial analysts, he said the studio and the Bond movie producers are still developing the 21st Bond film in the 42-year-old film franchise. A script is complete, a director is being hired and, when the time arrives, they will see about Bond.

“At that point, we’re going to address the casting issues. It’s the same process we went through with Die Another Day,” McGurk added. Brosnan’s salary was at issue before production on that movie finally kicked in.

Even so, names recently bandied about to step into Bond’s boots: Brits Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor, as well as Aussies Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Eric Bana.