The 25th James Bond movie is finally recouping some of its superspy suaveness with confirmation that Rami Malek, fresh off his recent Oscar win for Bohemian Rhapsody, will be joining the globetrotting franchise. Director Cary Fukunaga (Maniac) revealed this during an exclusive livestream from Jamaica (where the series first began in 1963) alongside producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.
While no more details were given about the role, we do know that Malek will be playing the film's central villain. The actor removed all doubt about it, though, in a pre-filmed message where he said:
“I am very much looking forward to joining the whole cast and crew very soon. I promise you all I will be making sure Mr. Bond does not have an easy ride of it this, his 25th outing. I can’t wait to see you all soon…cheers.”
Broccoli echoed those sentiments when she said, “We’ve got quite a ride in store for Mr. Bond.”
"[Craig] brings this class to [the role of Bond], but this human factor, and he's kind of cynical at the same time and ruthless, but you're always rooting for him. I think he's been terrific. It'll be very interesting to go up against that man," Malek said during an appearance on Good Morning America, where he made it clear that this will be Craig's final go-around as James Bond. "It's gonna be thrilling ... We've had such great villains in film history and I've just been going back and watching so many of them and, perhaps, trying to steal a little nugget from each one of them."
However, Malek won't be the only newcomer — Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), David Dencik (McMafia), Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel), Billy Magnussen (Aladdin), and Dali Benssalah (A Faithful Man) were also confirmed as part of cast's fresh blood. Sadly, it seems that those rumors about Lupita Nyong'o joining up had no basis.
Aside from Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes (M), Léa Seydoux (Madeleine Swann), Naomie Harris (Eve Moneypenny), Rory Kinnear (Bill Tanner), Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter), and Ben Whishaw (Q) are all returning from previous films.
Sadly, no title was given for the project just yet, so we'll have to stick with those whispers about Shatterhand for a little while longer.
“I can’t remember the last time we had a title when we announced the beginning of the film,” said Wilson. “It’s a tradition now.”
Even so, we learned that the movie will open in Jamaica with Bond, not on active duty, simply enjoying life. The tropical country is a staple in the series, having served as main settings for Dr. No and Live and Let Die.
Indeed, the livestream closed out with a first look at the construction of the waterside house James will be living in at the very beginning of the story. From there, we'll see other exotic locations like Norway and southern Italy — shooting has already taken place in the former due to weather, while production in the latter will take place over the summer. Last month, it was reported that the Italian town of Matera would serve as the film's prologue action sequence. Filming will also happen around London and at Pinewood Studios.
Here's the official plot description:
Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Bond 25 hit a snag late last summer when Danny Boyle (Sunshine) bowed out as director after facing irreconcilable creative differences with Craig and the producers; the main star is also a producer. To make matters worse, Boyle's script, co-written with John Hodge (Trainspotting), was scrapped, leaving the entire project in doubt. Bond veterans, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, were brought back to write a brand-new screenplay.
"It is just a great shame. What [screenwriter] John [Hodge] and I were doing, I thought, was really good," Boyle said last month during a chat with Empire Magazine.
In late September, Fukunaga became the new director, the first American to helm a 007 feature, unless you count Irvin Kershner's Never Say Never Again, which is often not counted as part of the Bond canon. From there, things began to start looking up for Bond 25, which was rumored and confirmed to be attracting old and new talents like Fiennes, Harris, Whishaw, Seydoux, and Malek.
Even with Wade and Purvis' new script, both Scott Z. Burns (Contagion) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Killing Eve) were brought in to do rewrites. In particular, Waller-Bridge's job was reportedly to infuse more humor into the overall story.
Originally slated to open in November of this year, Bond 25 was pushed to mid-February of next year before settling on a firm release date of April 8, 2020. It is the first movie in the franchise since 1989's Licence to Kill not to be released in the fall.
What do you think of the newly-revealed cast? Let us know in the comments!