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Tom Hiddleston isn't saying he wants to be James Bond, but he definitely wants to be James Bond

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Tom Hiddleston continues to play hard to get with the James Bond franchise.

Ever since Daniel Craig tactfully informed Time Out that he would "rather slash his wrists" than continue on as 007, speculation has been flying as to who might be the next James Bond.

"It’s one of the nation’s favorite pub conversations," Hiddleston told Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday. And the actor, who plays a British spy on the TV miniseries The Night Manager (premiering in the US in April on AMC), is a popular contender. The Guardian recently put the odds of Hiddleston landing the role at 9 to 1 (respectable, but well behind favorites like Tom Hardy and Idris Elba), and Bustle published a list of reasons he’d make a great Bond.

Hiddleston himself hardly gives an interview these days without addressing the rumors, but he only ever discusses them as coyly as possible: He’s not saying it’s his life’s ambition to play James Bond, but it’s definitely his life’s ambition to play James Bond. "I think any British actor that gets a phone call that says, 'Would you like to play James Bond?' There's no more enticing question than that," he said to Entertainment Tonight. Meanwhile, he told the Guardian, "I simply love the theme tune, the tropes and the mythology. I love the whole thing. If it ever came knocking, it would be an extraordinary opportunity."

As soon as Kimmel uttered the words "James Bond" during Tuesday's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Hiddleston’s face lit up with the sheer joy of someone who has at last been given permission to discuss his most cherished dreams. But then his stern interior monologue asserted itself: Easy, Tom. Don’t let them see you want it too much; let them come to you. It’s the art of the chase.

"As somebody who grew up with Sean Connery and Roger Moore," Hiddleston said, "when you mention it, there’s a part of me that goes, 'Really? Are you kidding?'"

You’re not fooling anyone, Hiddles.