LATEST: PIERCE BROSNAN suspects James Bond movie makers are using the mystery surrounding the identity of the next 007 as a publicity stunt.

Brosnan was dropped from the role after the last movie DIE ANOTHER DAY - but this weekend (24-26SEP05) revealed he is still in the race to wear the superspy's trademark tuxedo when filming begins on the 21st Bond film Casino Royale in January (06).

He now joins an ever-changing shortlist of actors tipped for the role, currently including DANIEL CRAIG - but Brosnan suspects producers are using the hype surrounding the role to drum up publicity for the forthcoming film.

He says, "Maybe it is all a big, clever ploy, just to bang the drum. We've seen it over the years with SEAN (CONNERY) and ROGER (MOORE).

"Sony are pulling their hair out over it, apparently. I was in their offices just a few weeks ago, pitching THOMAS CROWN (AFFAIR) 2.

"They said, 'Come back,' and I said, 'It's not up to me, guys.' I think I was just caught up between the egos of the producers and the studios, really."