Kevin Spacey Was Almost the 'James Bond 23' Villain

Kevin Spacey as Keyser Soze in Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects

Kevin Spacey as Keyser Soze in Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects

After nearly a year of delays due to MGM’s financial troubles, James Bond 23 is back on track for a November 9th, 2012 theatrical release date – just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. No, the original Bond film.

Bond 23, directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty), will see the return of Daniel Craig in the iconic role made famous by Sean Connery, and opposite Craig may very will be Javier Bardem as the yet unnamed villain. But Bond 23 almost went an entirely different direction. Apparently, frequent collaborator Kevin Spacey was Mendes’ first choice.

The Jameson Cult Film Club recently held a screening of Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects and Keyser Söze himself, Kevin Spacey, was in attendance. He spoke about a number of things, including his career, his celebrity impersonations, his favorite film roles – American Beauty, Se7en, and The Usual Suspects – and, inevitably, his (brief) opportunity to co-star opposite Daniel Craig in the next Bond film.

According to Kevin Spacey, Mendes wanted him for the role of the next James Bond villain first and foremost, and Spacey wanted to take the role. Unfortunately, Spacey will be all tied up in the theater with Richard III, which Mendes will initially direct. But whereas Mendes will leave the production to film Bond 23, Spacey will go on tour with the play. Neither Spacey nor Mendes were happy about the circumstances, but them’s the breaks.

Despite what some would call a recent dip in acting awesomeness, cinematically-speaking, Kevin Spacey’s ability to play nasty, likable villains is the stuff of legend.  Can you imagine Spacey at his utmost despicableness pitted against Daniel Craig's James Bond?

But then, Javier Bardem is no slouch in the despicable villain department. I find it interesting that Sam Mendes’ top two choices for James Bond villains have played two of the more famous serial killers in movie history – John Doe and Anton Chigurh. Is it merely a coincidence of casting, or will the next Bond villain be a truly mean, creepy, and sick individual, not unlike those famous filmic serial killers? Allow me to cross my fingers in hopes that the answer is a resounding yes. (Of course, there's always the possibility that the Ralph Fiennes rumor could come true, as well.)

What do you think? Would you prefer to see Kevin Spacey, Ralph Fiennes, or Javier Bardem versus James Bond? I think it’s safe to say that while all three actors can play convincingly creepy, only one – Bardem – can play physically intimidating, especially pitted against Daniel Craig.

James Bond 23 begins shooting later this year. Keep your eye on the main page for more Bond news as we get it.

Source: Live for Films

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