RUSSELL CROWE'S IN & BROSNAN'S ON WAY 00-OUT!

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY!

007's MGM bosses are exercising their license to kill Pierce Brosnan! After making sky-high salary demands for the next James Bond flick, suave Brosnan was stunned when MGM turned to a red-hot superstar eager to trade in armor for Armani -- "Gladiator" Russell Crowe! "It's a dream come true for Russell," said an insider. "He probably would do it for nothing because he's a lifelong 007 fanatic!" After two successful Bond outings, Brosnan got cocky and demanded a paycheck execs felt went WAY over his market value. Brosnan stuck to his guns -- but heard rumblings he might be 00-OUT! He went back to MGM prepared to deal, but the ink's almost dry on the contract -- and Russell's crowe-ing he'll restore "wimpy" Bond to the macho image created by Sean Connery. Said the insider: "Russell used to act out Sean's original Bond scenes as a kid -- he won't even have to rehearse!" Stay tuned!