It’s official: Academy Award-winning actor Rami Malek, fresh off the success of Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), is playing the villain in the 25th James Bond film.
The new cast members and other details about the film were revealed at an event streamed live on Thursday. Several cast members and director Cary Joji Fukunaga assembled at Goldeneye, Ian Fleming’s Jamaican estate where he wrote all his James Bond novels on which the films are based.
Malek, who was not present at the event, sent a sinister message for Agent 007 from New York: “I will be making sure that Mr Bond does not have an easy ride of it in this, in his 25th outing.”
Daniel Craig will return as the dapper and dangerous spy for the fifth time. Additions to the franchise include Ana De Armas (Blade Runner 2049), Dali Benssalah, Billy Magnussen, David Dencik and Lashana Lynch.
The spy thriller’s title, however, is yet to be revealed and the project is being called “Bond 25”. It is scheduled to be released on April 8, 2020.
The returning cast members include Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris, who will reprise their roles as M, Q and Moneypenny respectively. Rory Kinnear will return as Bond’s ally Tanner, Lea Seydoux as French psychologist Dr Madeleine Swann and Jeffrey Wright as Central Intelligence Agency operative Felix Leiter.
The film’s shooting locations are Jamaica, Norway, London and Italy. The screenplay is by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Scott Z Burns and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Purvis and Wade have written six Bond films so far, including all those starring Craig. Burns, a frequent collaborator of Steven Soderbergh, has the spy-action thriller The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) to his credit.
Waller-Bridge was a last-minute addition to the writing team and joined earlier this month. According to The Guardian, she was roped in upon Craig’s request to “liven up” the script. Waller-Bridge is the star and creator of the hit British dark comedy Fleabag, as well as the writer of the American spy drama Killing Eve.
Bond 25 was earlier to be directed by Danny Boyle, with a script by John Hodge. The two have worked together on several films including Boyle’s 1996 cult hit Trainspotting. Boyle left the project in August 2018, later revealing to Empire magazine that their screenplay did not find favour with the producers.The changes in the creative team pushed the release date from October 2018 to early 2020.
Directorial responsibilities were then handed over to Fukunaga, whose credits include the critically acclaimed first season of the HBO series True Detective, the Netflix original Maniac and the films Sin Nombre (2009), Jane Eyre (2011), and Beasts of No Nation (2015).
Craig’s first outing as the British Secret Service agent was in Casino Royale (2006). He returned for Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015). In 2015, the actor famously said that he would rather “break this glass and slash my wrists” than play James Bond again, leading to speculations that he would not return to the franchise.
But in August, 2017, Craig announced on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show that he would do one more Bond film. In July last year, the actor visited the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to get a first-hand look at how intelligence agencies operate.
The CIA noted on its website, “Mr Craig met with our leadership and workforce, who explained that real life espionage is a lot more ‘cloak’ and a lot less ‘dagger’ than presented in the entertainment world of spy vs spy.”