Rhys Ifans Joins ‘James Bond 23′?; Javier Bardem Set As Villain [Updated]

Published 4 years ago by , Updated September 12th, 2013 at 7:21 pm,

[UPDATE: Ifans has informedĀ MTV that he’s currently NOT onboard forĀ James Bond 23.]

Casting for director Sam Mendes’ upcoming James Bond flick (the 23rd entry in the long-running franchise) has seen its fair share of rumors over the past several months. Outside of Daniel Craig being set for his third turn as the titular deadly spy, the only other confirmed cast member for the film has been Judi Dench as the authoritative M.

Three previously-rumored candidates (Naomi Harris, Javier Bardem, and Ralph Fiennes) now appear to be all but officially locked to star in the picture, which looks to have added another increasingly-busy character actor from the UK to its cast.

According to The Telegraph, Mendes has brought on Rhys Ifans (Curt Connors/The Lizard in next year’s Amazing Spider-Man) for an undisclosed role in the new James Bond venture. In the same article, Bardem is once again seemingly confirmed to play “the baddie” in the film, which will reportedly be shot primarily on location in South Africa.

That still leaves a big question mark on Fiennes’ potential role in the film, assuming that he is actually set for the project. Previous speculation based on the decorated actor’s resume pegged him as a potential villain in the new James Bond flick, which might still be the case.

Essentially, the setup in James Bond 23 could be as follows:

  1. Fiennes plays the head of Quantum, a part that calls for an older actor with the intimidation factor and gravitas to portray the cruel and conniving figure (see: why Anthony Hopkins was reportedly being eyed for the part as well).
  2. Bardem would then play a deadly Quantum agent (“the muscle”, so to speak), a cold and deadly agent who acts on behalf of his superior (Fiennes) and physically battles Craig’s Bond – hence the Oscar-winner’s previous comments about James Bond 23 “changing the whole thing, the whole dynamic,” with regards to its bad guy(s).

Obviously, that is all speculation at this point, but a James Bond flick that mixes thing up in this fashion – and pits Bond against an opponent who is both his physical and mental match (a la Batman and Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) – could be a very cool change of pace for the series.

While Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale offered a grittier take on the Bond character that generally went over well with moviegoers, most people agree that Quantum of Solace went too far with its portrayal of 007 as a vengeful killing machine. By matching Craig’s Bond against a pair of bad guys (played by greats like Bardem and Fiennes, no less), James Bond 23 would seemingly have to feature a version of the famous spy who relies on both his brains and brawn in equal measure – not just the latter.

On that note: Drawing parallels between Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the three Craig-starring Bond flicks seems all the more appropriate. The first installment in each series explored the respective character’s origins (to a lesser degree in Casino Royale, admittedly); the second picture offered a darker and harsher version of both crime-fighters and their respective universes; and the third film in each series looks to raise the stakes even higher, requiring both action heroes to evolve and develop in order to face down their “ultimate” opponent(s). Just some food for thought.


James Bond 23 is set to reach theaters on November 9th, 2012. We’ll keep you posted on the status of the project, in the meantime.

Source: The Telegraph

TAGS: James bond
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  1. Can we have posts without mentioning Nolan….. ?? Batmans ultimate opponent has always been and will always be The Joker. ;)

    What I want to know if anyone knows the answer to this is will we see SPECTRE? Or is Quantum it? Or is Quantum a smaller group to the larger SPECTRE?

    Mr. White could have been a nod to the cat and Blofeld which I still hope they will use as the lead of Quantum if they are not using SPECTRE.

    • I don’t remember all the details of the case, and I don’t know if there’s been more recent activity, but the Bond franchise lost the rights to use SPECTRE back in the ’60s. From what I recall, Ian Fleming co-created the “Thunderball” movie and SPECTRE with a few other guys, one of them named Kevin McClory. Somehow, McClory got bumped from the project. There was a big lawsuit, and the result was that SPECTRE could continue to be used in the books, but could no longer be the main villain in the movies. McClory was allowed to produce a remake of “Thunderball” after so many years (which he eventually did with “Never Say Never Again”). I know that he’s dead now, but I don’t know what that means for his rights to SPECTRE and Blofeld. It would be fun to see them come back, but, really, I don’t see the difference between SPECTRE and Quantum. They serve the same purpose. They give Bond a dangerous enemy, but keep the movies from becoming dated due to political history.

      • I know but from someone that read the originals (paperbacks) from Fleming and the movies I grew up on it would be nice.

        Thanks for the information.

      • Ian Fleming died in 1963. He wouldn’t have been able to “co-create” Thunderball the movie. It had something else to do with the fact that McClory was partnered with Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman at the time and felt that he should have a fair share of ownership to the movie rights or something like that. I don’t remember everything exactly but I don’t think the whole SPECTRE user rights worked like that. OHMSS and Diamonds Are Forever also featured SPECTRE and Blofeld. Once Blofeld was supposedly killed off in Diamonds, they stopped using him and SPECTRE and went on to more original characters to change the pace of the films imo. I could be wrong though.

    • My bad. He died in 64.

        • Thank you for the link. Now everything is clear. Lol I agree, that was a huge mess.

  2. I thought Javier Bardem was great in a cameo as a drug dealer boss in Michael Mann’s Collateral. He should play a boss just like that for Bond 23. Oh well.

  3. Hmmm… There’s talk of Moneypenny coming on, could Ifans be playing Q. I’ve always wondered how Bond was able to find out who M was and her address. My theory has been that he had a little help from a friend who possibly wanted a new device to be tested in the field. Q perhaps?

  4. The Nolan nonsense is getting out of hand, the reference doesnt make any sense.

    Ifans might be playing Q. Fiennes will be Blofeld.

  5. Ralph finnes should be the head of quantum because he will have Javier bardem as the musscle