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Stuntman Ben Cooke talks 007 ahead of awards ceremony

17-May-2009 • Quantum Of Solace

007's Kiwi stunt double is neither shaken nor stirred by suggestions he's stepping out with Bond girl Gemma Arterton - reports the New Zealand Herald.

Ben Cooke, who stands in for Daniel Craig in the hit movies, played down rumours of a romance with the English actor ahead of tonight's World Stunt Awards, where he is in line for a top award.

Speaking from Philadelphia, Cooke said he heard a month ago of his nomination in the best high work category.

The nomination was for a sequence in last year's Quantum of Solace, in which Bond and a villain swung through a gallery on ropes up to 20m off the ground.

"It's more about the sequence and the way it was put together, all the technical rigging," he said.

British-born, New Zealand-raised Cook's "date" for the ceremony, in Los Angeles tomorrow, will be "one of my best mates", fellow Kiwi Zoe Bell.

She has doubled for Sharon Stone in Catwoman, Uma Thurman in Kill Bill and Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess.

Both are previous World Stunt Award winners, Cook for a death-defying jump between two cranes in Craig's Bond debut Casino Royale and Bell for her work on Kill Bill.

But Cooke, who got his break seven years ago after moving to London, played down excitement over the nomination, saying he had been too busy working to think about it.

It's a different story for his proud parents Brian and Lesley, who will be waiting in Auckland for word of how he fares.

The couple will soon head off to holiday in Philadelphia, where Cooke is working on a live-action version of Nickelodeon cartoon The Last Airbender, featuring Cliff Curtis and Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel.

Cooke says Craig is a perfectionist whom he admires and likes working with. They're friends and have had the odd drink together.

But he's more reluctant to talk about any time he might spend with Arterton, who played Agent Fields in Quantum of Solace.

Overseas reports claim they're dating after meeting on the set. One source told Britain's Reveal magazine the romance was "going really well" - "it's so cute, they are really loved up and it's great to see Gemma looking so happy".

Cooke says the two are just friends and that he's still single, no doubt looking for the right girl who is licensed to thrill.

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