Although EON Productions don’t seem to be in the mood to confirm or deny anything, Javier Bardem has informed ABC’s Nightline (via MI:6) that he will indeed be squaring off against 007 as the villain in Bond 23.
In a response to an interviewer asking him “about the next villain you are going to play, in James Bond?”, the actor responded;
“I am very excited, my parents took me to watch the movies, and I saw all of them, and to play that is going to be fun. They chose me to play this man, but I cannot give you many details.”
Bardem was first linked with the film as long ago as January when it was announced that director Sam Mendes had offered him a starring role widely expected to be the main villain. By February, Bardem had confirmed he was in talks;
“I’d be playing Bond’s nemesis, yes… but it’s not that obvious. Everything is more nuanced. It’s very intriguing… They’re changing the whole thing, the whole dynamic.”
A spanner in the works then came when Universal and Ron Howard had lured the Oscar winning Spanish actor to lead their ambitious adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower that should have been filming the first of several movies and t.v. productions RIGHT NOW and would have made a Bond villain role impossible. But with that project dying out months ago, Bardem is now free to torment James Bond in his next outing.
Bond 23 (which might be titled “Skyfall”) already has the most talented director the series has ever known in Mendes (Road to Perdition, American Beauty) helming and now the greatest actor the franchise has ever known will be making his life hell. Sure the 007 series has already showcased legendary thesps Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee, Robert Shaw and Donald Pleasance among others over the past five decades and I’m not for a minute saying there’s a chance here for a performance more iconic than Sean Connery in Dr. No but it’s Javier Bardem!– that’s taking things to a new level, talent wise.
Nobody quite plays a villain like Bardem. Look at his Oscar winning turn as ultimate psychopathic killer Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men, perhaps the greatest villainy role of the new century. Or his brief but electric cameo in Collateral. Two very different villains… Bardem can play charming, witty baddie or speechless, intense psycho or all of them mixed together into one evil plot.
So then the question now is… are EON be setting up Bardem to play the powerful head of Quantum, a role that seemingly cried out for a huge star?
Or is that role the one Ralph Fiennes has had all year and which he once said was;
‘darkly complex… one of extreme complexity and only an actor of great ability and dexterity can take it on” and that Bond 23 is… “the first of a new generation of Bond films, and the ideas Mendes has push the film into darker territory where the characters are modern, mature and challenging,”.
We recently heard that the Bond 23 press conference won’t be taking place until next month so a 100% official confirmation from the Bond producers is still some weeks away. But whatever the film ends up being called, it’s hard to deny that this isn’t the most talented bunch of people to ever work on a James Bond film.
Daniel Craig leads as 007 (the 3rd of 4 contracted outings as Bond)
Judi Dench is back as M, Rory Kinnear returns as her assistant.
Javier Bardem is the villain
French beauty Bérénice Marlohe is the Bond girl.
Ralph Fiennes is looking likely as the head of Q.U.A.N.T.U.M
Naomie Harris brings Moneypenny back to the big screen
Then there’s supporting roles for Helen McCroy and Ben Wishaw, although Jeffrey Wright has said he hasn’t yet had the phone call to return as Felix Leiter.
The next James Bond film will begin shooting soon for a release in the U.K. on October 26, 2012 with a U.S. release following on November 9th.
For more Bond 23 info read our writer Tony Greenway’s fantastic Bond 23 guide of what we know officially and what we can only guess at this stage for the next James Bond movie.