Perthshire film-maker David MacKenzie could be poised to take the helm of British cinema’s best loved action franchise.
The 51-year-old has been tipped to direct the 25th James Bond movie, due for release in late 2019.
Details of the project are being kept under-wraps, but Daniel Craig looks likely to return as the iconic spy.
Hollywood insiders have named MacKenzie, who is about to start work on his “passion project” Netflix drama about Robert the Bruce, as one of the three up-and-coming directors in the running for the prestigious gig.
According to reports, he will be up against French film-maker Yann Demange – best known for ’71, his 2014 historical thriller set in Northern Ireland – and Candian Denis Villeneuve, the man behind the imminent Blade Runner sequel.
All three are said to be in talks about directing the as-yet-unnamed Bond movie.
MacKenzie, who is from Trinafour, near Pitlochry, received an Academy Award nomination for his breakthrough hit Hell of High Water, a modern day western shot on location in Texas.
His latest project, an ambitious retelling of the Robert the Bruce story for streaming giant Netflix, starts shooting next month.
Earlier this month, scores of extras were recruited by MacKenzie’s Glasgow-based production company Sigma Films. Casting agents asked specifically for men with impressive beards.
Details and locations for the shoot have been kept a secret, but cameras are expected to start rolling in Scotland on August 21.
There has been speculation that time dedicated to the Netflix film may count against his chances of bagging the Bond gig.
MacKenzie started his stellar career after completing a photography degree at Dundee University’s Duncan of Jordanstone at college in the 1990s.
He honed his skills with his first film, The Last Great Wilderness, which was mostly shot on a sheep farm in Dunkeld.
His next project saw him directing Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton in Young Adam. The 2003 film was shot in locations across Scotland, including Gullane in East Lothian and in parts of Perthshire.
And he won global acclaim for his 2013 prison drama Starred Up, which scored him a Bafta for Best Feature.
Daniel Craig has already signed on for Bond 25, according to reports from Hollywood.
He had previously said he would rather “slash my wrists” than take on the role again.
The movie will be written by Neal Purves and Robert Wade who worked on the last six Bonds.