Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ November 28th 2001 ]

Actors were last night lining up to be the first Scottish James Bond in 18 years. None of the leading candidates identified by the Record's "Time for a Scottish Bond" campaign were ruling themselves out of the running.

From Ewan McGregor and Dougray Scott to Ally McCoist and, er, Ronald Villiers, they all seemed keen on succeeding Pierce Brosnan, who is tipped to retire after his next Bond outing. Ally McCoist, who has just had his major film debut in A Shot at Glory, is the keenest to play 007. A close friend said: "He's well up for it. We're waiting on scripts coming in now. Ewan McGregor's mum has been on the phone a few times.

"He has all the attributes of a Bond - a deadly shot, charm and Ally being Ally, will talk to anybody. He'd like to have Sue Barker as Moneypenny and John Parrott as Q. In terms of baddies,he'd want Andy Goram as Jaws, because of his dodgy teeth and his old Kilmarnock boss Bobby Williamson as Oddjob - after all, he's got one."

The only danger is the Bond girls. The pal said: "He'd have to have Ann Widdecombe just to make sure his wife Allison was happy." Ewan McGregor is often described by Hollywood magazine Premiere as "the best thing to come out of Scotland since Sean Connery, the last great Bond". And he was a big 007 fan as a youngster, said his mum, Carol. She added: "I can't speak for Ewan, obviously, but he certainly saw loads of James Bond movies as a boy."

Paisley-born Gerald Butler, a former Glasgow University law student whose biggest role was in Dracula 2001, remains the bookies' favourite. He's already been in meetings with Bond producers and said: "It's very flattering but I can't say any more. I know it's been announced on CNN that I've been named as the new Bond but no one has been chosen yet."

Butler, McGregor and another front-runner, Braveheart's Angus MacFadyen, were all filming in LA yesterday. Their representatives were keen not to rule them out, as was Edinburgh-born Tomb Raider star Iain Glen's agent. He said: "He's in Italy right now but I know he's been linked with the role. It's not for me to say whether he'd take it."

Dougray Scott, from Glenrothes, Fife, is also a contender, despite ruling himself out a year ago as "not suave enough". But close friends now insist that were he to be offered the role directly, he'd be "intrigued" by it.

The least likely candidate is "actor" Ronald Villiers, occasionally seen on comedy show Chewin' the Fat. But he might be unable to do the job even if he is offered it. He said: "I'm on a long-term contract to be mascot for Partick Thistle. I think I'd make a great Bond. I'd have a Cup-a-Soup, stirred not shaken. I'd drive a Lada and the Bond girl would be Janette Krankie, who'd play a dusky Russian midden, I mean maiden, called Ivana Kebab."

Ronald is open to television offers, too, adding: "I'd love to do Crossroads. They haven't phoned yet, though." Strangely, neither have the Bond producers...

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