Culture

Bond 25’s villain will be Remi Malek

The cast has been announced for the forthcoming James Bond movie, set for release April 2020, and the biggest news is that Remi Malek has been confirmed as lead villain

With hype building around who will replace Daniel Craig as James Bond, it’s been easy to forget that Craig’s swan song as Ian Fleming’s world famous spy must come first. ‘Bond 25’ will be released in April 2020, and is currently being directed by Cary Fukunaga, a 41-year-old Californian director, whose most notable work is HBO’s True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Other than director and leading man, information has been scarce around the new film – until a big reveal today gave us more crucial information, and most interestingly, confirmed the actors in the lead roles.

Radio 1’s Clara Amfo introduced the film’s cast and producers from a serene beachfront in Jamaica, where a makeshift studio had been assembled. The film’s producer, Barbara Broccoli, confirmed Bond would return to his Dr No roots by spending time in Jamaica in the forthcoming film, but she stopped short of offering much detail. She explained that Bond would ‘not be on active service’, but would instead be ‘actually enjoying himself’ during scenes shot in the Caribbean.

Producers Broccoli and Michael G Wilson then revealed the cast for Bond 25. They confirmed Remi Malek will play the lead villain, and returners include Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny and Léa Seydoux as psychologist Madeleine Swann.

Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been announced as co-writer, confirming a strong rumour among fans.

While the majority of the cast and crew made the reveal live from Jamaica, Remi Malek joined via video link, saying he was ‘stuck in production’ in New York, but incredibly excited to be a part of such a worldwide franchise. Malek is still enjoying the success of his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, which won him an Oscar for Best Actor. This is his first major role announcement since that film.

New talent for the film includes actors Lashana Lynch, Dali Benssalah and Billy Magnussen, although their roles within the movie have yet to be confirmed.

‘Daniel is my favourite Bond,’ said director Fukunaga during the live stream from the Jamaican beach, before confirming his intention to ‘keep upping the anti’ on the franchise as it enters its seventh decade.

Fans are being made to wait longer for the title though, which wasn’t set to be revealed today. Rumours suggest that the working title is Shatterhand, although producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli haven’t confirmed anything. In the past week though, the film’s production team have begun filming the movie, although scenes involving Craig reportedly haven’t been shot yet. According to eyewitnesses, the production team have been filming on a frozen lake in Norway – and rumours suggest the shoot will move onto Jamaica, where Craig’s early scenes are believed to be being filmed. That said, we’re completely in the dark about the plot.

Bond 25 will be Craig’s fifth and final time playing Bond. He made his debut in the role in 2006’s Casino Royale, followed by Quantum of Solace in 2008, Skyfall in 2012 and Spectre in 2015. Among fans, Craig has been largely popular as Bond, but was initially criticised for his appearance. Traditionalists believed he, being blonde, and short, was an unfit choice – a website called danielcraigisnotbond.com epitomised this movement against the actor.

‘How can a short, blond actor with the rough face of a professional boxer and a penchant for playing villains, killers, cranks and cads pull off the role of a tall, dark, handsome and suave secret agent?’ the website reads, before stating: ‘He can’t!’

Craig is the 6th actor to officially play James Bond. The first being Sir Sean Connery, who launched the franchise in 1962 with Dr No, who made 6 films in total. Australian actor George Lazenby replaced him for one movie in 1969, but was soon replaced by Sir Roger Moore, who made seven Bond films up until the 1980s. After a 6-year break, Irish actor Pierce Brosnan revived the franchise in 1995 with Goldeneye, in a period when many believed the ultra-masculine character was out of date.

Producers were praised for modernising the franchise to bring it into a modern era. For one, they employed a female actress, Dame Judi Dench, to play Bond’s boss, M, who famously referred to him in an opening sequence as ‘a sexist, misogynist pig, a relic of the Cold War’. It was a line that was to help redefine Bond for a new millennium.