The latest James Bond movie, Spectre, which was the fourth to feature Daniel Craig as 007, came out more than a year ago. Nothing about the next movie in the long-running franchise has been revealed at this time. It isn't even clear if Daniel Craig is going to return, though Sony really wants him to. With that in mind, there have been a lot of names thrown around when it comes to who may replace Craig as the next Bond. Tom Hardy's name has regularly been mentioned, and now it seems like he has personally dumped some fuel on that fire.

The actor recently spoke with The Daily Beast in order to promote his new show Taboo. The subject of those James Bond rumors did come up. Surprisingly, while not actually saying much, he seemed to confirm that he is at the very least interested, but seemingly implied that some form of conversations have taken place. Here is what Tom Hardy had to say about it.

"You know, there's a saying amongst us in the fraternity of acting, and in the fellowship of my peer group, that if you talk about it you're automatically out of the race. So I can't possibly comment on that one! If I mention it, it's gone."

It is really that last bit of Tom Hardy's comment that makes it seem not only like he would be open to playing the iconic spy in the future, but that the opportunity may very well be on the table already. At the moment, Sony and MGM seem dead set on trying to get Daniel Craig back for at least one more move James Bond movie, but reports suggest that they would like two more. However, the most recent info from The Sun makes it seem like things aren't in a great place. Here is what an unnamed insider had to say to the publication about where things currently stand with James Bond 25.

Related: Is James Bond 25 Already in Big Trouble Just as Shooting Begins?

"Daniel and MGM are currently at a stalemate with him having not spoken to them about Bond. They have offered a bigger wage deal, and asked about his filming availability to his reps in 2017, but as yet they have not spoken to Daniel. They want Bond 25 out in October 2018, but currently they have no Bond, film dates or knowledge of when that will change. Daniel's commitment is also a key part of whether Sony Pictures will come in to co-finance the film. So much is hanging in the air - and no-one knows."

At one point, it was Thor star Tom Hiddleston who seemed to be the frontrunner, based partially on a meeting he had with producer Barbara Broccoli, but also because bookies refused to stop taking bets on him to be the next Bond because the odds tipped so heavily in his favor. Other names that have been thrown around include Idris Elba, who seems to be the people's favorite, as well as Jamie Bell, Michael Fassbender, Henry Cavill and Aidan Turner. Tom Hardy qualifies in that he can do an action movie and he looks pretty great in a suit. But pretty much every name that has been thrown around up to this point seems to meet those qualifications.

One thing we do know is that director Sam Mendes won't be returning. He directed both Skyfall, which was the first James Bond movie to ever gross more than $1 billion at the box office, and Spectre, which didn't fare quite as well at the box office or with critics. Though, it was still definitely a success, since it grossed $880 million worldwide. If Tom Hardy does wind up boarding James Bond 25, he has an idea for who he would like to direct it. It turns out, he thinks it would be "so cool" if Christopher Nolan took a stab at 007. Here is what he had to say.

"I wonder what the next installment of that franchise would become, and I think when you mention someone like Christopher Nolan, that's a very powerful figure to bring into that world who could bring something new and create something profound, again."

Tom Hardy worked with Christopher Nolan on both Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, as well as the upcoming WWII drama Dunkirk, so the two have some chemistry for sure. Plus, Christopher Nolan has not been shy about his love for the franchise and hasn't ruled out directing a James Bond movie, so who knows? If Tom Hardy signs on that could be enough to sway him. All of that said, this could all be for nothing if Daniel Craig does decide to come back for another movie. Still, there are likely a lot of people out there who would love to see Tom Hardy fill those very big shoes, and he is one of few actors who may actually be able to pull it off.

Ryan Scott