A GWENT star could be given a licence to thrill moviegoers after his odds to play the next James Bond were slashed.

Pontypool-born Luke Evans has shaken and stirred the market after being placed among the favourites with bookies William Hill to replace Daniel Craig.

He is 16-1 to front the next stage of one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time and become the second Welsh-born 007 actor after Timothy Dalton.

South Wales Argus:

Luke Evans was educated at Lewis School Pengam

Mr Evans, who made his name in The Hobbit trilogy, has expressed an interest in the role, saying he’d “jump at the chance” to play the fictional British secret agent.

The 43-year-old, who was brought up in Aberbargoed, Caerphilly, has overtaken previous favourites Cillian Murphy and Sam Heughan in the running.

South Wales Argus:

Sean Connery was the first actor to portray 007 in film when he started the franchise in 1962 with Dr No when he was aged 31. Picture: David Hurn/Magnum Photos

Tom Hardy and Rege-Jean Page jointly lead the field for punters with both priced at 3-1 to portray Ian Fleming’s famous creation so memorably brought to life by the likes of Sean Connery and Roger Moore.

Other Welsh contenders in the market include Rocketman’s Taron Egerton (66-1) and Game of Thrones’ Iwan Rheon (100-1).

Speaking on Mr Evans’ odds shift, William Hill’s Tony Kenny said: “Luke Evans would be a perfect fit for the next James Bond, as his CV definitely proves he has the grit and tenacity required to smash the role – and we know that he looks good in a suit!

“While it’s unclear why there’s been such significant shifts this week, they shouldn’t be overlooked, as we’re drawing ever-closer to an official 007 announcement.”