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FILM HUNKS ON SHORTLIST TO BE NEW BOND

24 July 2005, By Ben Todd Showbiz Editor Sunday Mirror

THESE are the four heart-throbs battling it out to be the next James Bond.

Established big- screen names such as Clive Owen and Dougray Scott are being overlooked in favour of this shortlist.

ER-hunk Goran Visnjic, 32, posh Henry Cavill, 22, Aussie Alex O'Lachlan, 28, and veteran Scot Ewan Stewart, 47, took part in a series of screen tests last week. They played out love scenes with Emmerdale's Camilla Power - tipped to be a Bond girl.

Production executives at Eon, who make the Bond movies, are now studying the scenes before making a decision.

A movie insider said: "All four are among the most impressive would-be Bonds we've ever encountered. They show style, sophistication and have a natural air of the shaken-but-not-stirred secret agent - and the ability to make women swoon."

The top-secret tests took place at Pinewood studios near London over three days.

The shortlist will come as a shock to Bond fans, who were expecting Layer Cake star Daniel Craig to scoop the role in Casino Royale. The insider added: "The shortlist has surprised people because there is no huge star. Bosses want whoever wins the role to become Bond in people's minds, which they wouldn't achieve with a bigger star."

Scots star Gerard Butler and Hulk actor Eric Bana have also been in the frame to take over from Pierce Brosnan as 007.

ALEX O'LACHLAN AGED 28

THE second big-screen Bond was Australian George Lazenby - now fellow countryman Alex O'Lachlan is in the running for the next movie. Starred in little-known films Oyster Farmer and Man-Things, but has been tipped as "the new Russell Crowe". Recently quit Australia and moved to Los Angeles to further his film career.51

GORAN VISNJICAGED 32

TRAINED as a paratrooper in the Croatian army. Most famous for his role as Dr Luka Kovac in long-running drama ER and was named US magazine People's Sexiest Import in 1999. Also appeared as the love interest for Madonna in the video for her song The Power Of Goodbye. Last year took starring role in a TV version of Spart-acus. Married to fellow Croat, sculptress Ivana.1

HENRY CAVILL AGED 22

FORMER public schoolboy, born in Jersey, appeared in 2002 movie The Count Of Monte Cristo alongside Guy Pearce. Has also appeared in TV cop dramas Midsomer Murders, on ITV, and the Beeb's Inspector Lynley Mysteries. Co-starred in this year's Hellraiser sequel Hellworld and appearing alongside Sophia Myles and Rufus Sewell in period drama Tristan & Isolde.

EWAN STEWART AGED 47

SON of Scottish music hall legend Andy Stewart - who had a hit in 1961 and 1989 with Donald Where's Yer Troosers. First found fame in late-70s TV drama All Quiet On The Western Front. Has also appeared in The Professionals, Only Fools And Horses and The Bill. Film-wise, starred as First Officer Murdoch in Titanic. Other major film credits include Coll in Rob Roy. Married to actress Clare Byam-Shaw.71