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Celebrities Pick Sides Over U.K.'s 'Brexit' Referendum on EU

LONDON — Imagine an argument that has James Bond, a Jedi and Simon Cowell on one side, and Joan Collins, Batman's butler, and the creator of "Downton
Daniel Craig and Michael Caine
Daniel Craig and Michael CainePA Wire | Rex Features

LONDON — Imagine an argument that has James Bond, a Jedi and Simon Cowell on one side, and Joan Collins, Batman's butler, and the creator of "Downton Abbey" on the other.

The battle lines have been drawn: These are the celebrities for and against Britain leaving the European Union in Thursday's historic "Brexit" referendum.

Who's Voting Remain?

The pro-EU camp received a boost Tuesday with the endorsement of arguably the world's biggest soccer star of the past three decades.

This was reinforced by a tweet of encouragement from the other half of the Beckham empire.

Hours later, "James Bond" star Daniel Craig was pictured wearing a "Vote Remain" T-shirt that featured a line by 17th-century poet John Donne.

Also backing Remain is Daisy Ridley, who played the scavenger-turned-Jedi-protégé Rey in last year's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

In total, at least 250 prominent actors and actresses have voiced their desire to stay in the EU. Among them are David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma," Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Oscar-nominated star of "12 Years a Slave," and Benedict Cumberbatch, also nominated for an Oscar for "The Imitation Game."

Idris Elba, who first beamed into U.S. homes as Stringer Bell in "The Wire," said his family history had influenced his decision to vote Remain.

Jeremy Clarkson and his former "Top Gear" co-host have also come out in favor of the EU ...

... as has "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, who wrote a lengthy blog post Monday criticizing what she called the "selfish and insecure individualism" of the Leave campaign.

Remain has also been backed by "X-Factor" judge Simon Cowell. He told the Mirror newspaper: "I don’t think at this time — because it is a tricky time — you would want to be on your own on a tiny island."

Irish rockers U2 also entered the fray on Wednesday, urging British fans on their Facebook page: "Don’t go, we’d miss you … Europe without Britain seems unimaginable to us."

Who's Voting Leave?

The list of celebrities pledged to vote in favor of a Brexit (a portmanteau of "Britain" and "exit") is markedly smaller but still contains some big-hitters.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellows told the Mail on Sunday the EU was "autocratic" and "anti-democratic."

Fellows, who created "Downton Abbey," added: "I believe we should be out. It’s about philosophy, it’s about democracy, it’s about democracy versus autocracy, all of those issues."

Less emphatic was double Oscar-winning actor Michael Caine. The star who played Batman's butler in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight Trilogy" who told BBC Radio 4 in February that "I don't know what to vote for — both [sides] are scary," before quickly clarifying that "I sort of feel certain that we should come out."

Elizabeth Hurley has been far less coy in her support.

The actress and model wrote in her column for Spear's Magazine, a London-based lifestyle publication for high-earners, that she blamed the EU for over-regulating her light bulbs.

"If it means we can go back to using decent light bulbs (60-watt, peach-colored, both bayonet and screw-in) — I'm joining Brexit for sure," she wrote.

Broadway actress Elaine Paige has come out in support of Brexit, telling The Telegraph newspaper: "This referendum is a way of managing our own borders and clamping down on immigration."

And Joan Collins has also made her feelings clear on the debate.