08/03/2004 AT 8:30 AM ET
The hunt for the next James Bond appears to be a covert operation – so covert, in fact, that actor Eric Bana was surprised to read in the papers that he won the role of 007.
The 6’4” Aussie hunk, who turns 36 on Monday, is telling pals that he has no idea how the rumor got started, only days after Pierce Brosnan was quoted as saying he’s done with playing Bond.
According to reports from Down Under, Bana (real name: Banadinovich) told a radio show that, not only has he not been approached for the role, he doesn’t know how such a falsehood could circulate so quickly and be taken as gospel.
“I haven’t got a bloody clue. It’s kinda baffling to me,” Bana told Australian radio host (and old friend) Dave O’Neil. “I’ve said, like, a million times I wouldn’t do it. It’s never, ever, ever been something we’ve had a discussion about.”
A Los Angeles rep for the Troy and Hulk star also confirmed that there is no truth to the rumors that Bana is stepping into shoes previously occupied by Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Brosnan.
Meanwhile, Bana may have some extra time on his hands, the New York Post reports. Steven Spielberg, who enlisted Bana to star in Vengeance, the filmmaker’s drama of the 1972 Munich Olympics, has postponed the production.
The Post suggests that the film, which deals with the massacre of the Israeli team by Palestinians, would inflame Muslim terrorists. Filming was to have begun last month, but a Spielberg rep tells the paper that work still continues on the script.
Even so, the delay reportedly has caused Ben Kingsley, who was set to costar, to drop out.