By Matthew Chernov
December 7th 2018
In casting news that’s sure to disappoint fans of USA Network’s award-winning series “Mr. Robot,” it appears as though 007 won’t square off against American actor Rami Malek, who was considered for the role of a diabolical new villain in director Cary Fukunaga’s as-yet-untitled James Bond epic according to Variety.
Malek dazzled audiences recently with his brilliant portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and is widely considered to be a shoe-in for a Best Actor Oscar nomination this year. The critical and commercial success of that high-profile performance may have played a large part in convincing EON producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to cast him in the coveted villain role in Bond 25.
But it now seems unlikely to happen. According to JBR sources, the 37-year old Malek was offered the part of Bond’s nemesis as far back as early last November, but a serious scheduling conflict has now almost certainly taken him out of contention. Similar to the “Remington Steele” situation that forced Pierce Brosnan to hand over the role of 007 to Timothy Dalton back in 1987, Malek’s contractual commitment to the final season of “Mr. Robot” interfered with the production schedule of Bond 25, resulting in a frenzy of behind-the-scene negotiations with the network. Ultimately, however, a deal to finalize Malek’s casting appears to remain tantalizingly out of reach.
Details about the character that he might have played are still a closely guarded secret, but one thing’s for sure – Malek’s age, unique look, and intense acting style would have made him a memorable adversary for Craig’s seasoned version of 007. Whether Malek’s comparative youth (he’s 13 years younger than Craig) might have come in to play during the film’s storyline is anyone’s guess, but it wouldn’t be the first time that the issue of age was addressed in one of Craig’s Bond films. “Skyfall” in particular dealt directly with the topic of Bond being an “old dog” forced to learn some new tricks.
Although Malek would have been the youngest villain of the Daniel Craig era, he wouldn’t have been the youngest baddie in the history of the franchise. That honor belongs to Toby Stephens in “Die Another Day” and Sophie Marceau in “The World is Not Enough.” Both of them were only 33 years old at the time their Bond movies premiered, making them the youngest main villains in the series.
In the meantime, Variety also reports that “Spectre” star Lea Seydoux will reprise her role as Dr. Madeleine Swann in Bond 25, making her the rare Bond Girl to appear in more than one film in the series.
Let us know what you think about Rami Malek and Lea Seydoux in the comments section below. In the meantime, we’ll follow up with further news as it develops.
article and reporting by Matthew Chernov