The 24th James Bond film is slated to begin production next month, though we had yet to hear a firm report about the film’s antagonist… until (possibly) today. It looks as though two-time Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz is joining the movie’s cast, in a role that may well be the central villain; a role that, earlier this year, the Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor was reported to be circling.
This news would also explain why Waltz is not reuniting with Quentin Tarantino (who directed Waltz to both of his Oscar wins) on Hateful Eight as many expected, since Tarantino will begin filming his western as Sam Mendes starts production on his Skyfall followup. One of the shooting locations for Bond 24 is Austria, so certain scenes filmed there may well introduce the character played by the Austria-born Waltz.
The Daily Mail – which has long proven to be an unusually reliable source of information for Bond movie news – has been informed by one of its sources that in the Bond 24 script “it’s not immediately evident whether [Waltz’ character is] friend, or foe, for a bit of both,” though another source for the site described the character as an “extremely cunning, a nemesis of sorts.”
The Daily Mail broke the news of Waltz’ involvement with James Bond 24, ahead of an upcoming cast script read on the project. Meanwhile, The Wrap is saying that Waltz is believed to be taking the role that Ejiofor was eying; so, it would appear that Waltz is going to portray the film’s big baddie (or one of them anyway).
Waltz has been type-cast as a villain and/or untrustworthy character in most of his recent movie appearances, so it doesn’t exactly require a stretch to believe that he’s also playing one in Bond 24. The Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained star is best known for portraying eccentric individuals onscreen nowadays, but he’s certainly able to play things relatively more straight too, on the level of recent Bond movie villains brought to life by Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) and Javier Bardem (Skyfall).
… Then again, if Bond 24 is to “reclaim some of the old irony,” as current 007 actor Daniel Craig put it, then someone who can play a somewhat more colorful and maybe even cartoonish antagonist, but with charm (as Waltz can), might be what’s called for, in order to properly harken back to the classic hammy Bond baddies of decades past.
Daniel Craig will be joined in James Bond 24 by his Skyfall costars Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, and Ralph Fiennes, plus Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color) and Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), with shooting taking place in Mexico, Austria, Morocco, Italy, and London. They’ll draw from a script penned by Skyfall screenwriters John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade, with some polishing by Jez Butterworth (who also helped out with Skyfall).
James Bond 24 (not the official title) reaches U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.