[This article contains potential SPOILERS for Spectre.]
The Sony hacks hit the new James Bond film, Spectre, pretty hard last week, as information about the out-of-control budget and the problematic third act became public knowledge after some email exchanges between studio executives leaked out. The biggest point of contention appeared to be the nature of Christoph Waltz's character, who goes by the alias Oberhauser and according to the script is the head of the titular organization. Referred to as "Blofeld" in exec notes (but not the screenplay), the higher-ups are concerned that the villain is not compelling and his section of the film lacks logic.
This is all somewhat surprising considering the fan fare surrounding the actor's inclusion in the new Bond installment, as he has made a name for himself playing rich characters, namely in his Oscar-winning collaborations with Quentin Tarantino. However, Waltz is saying that fans have no reason to fret, since he apparently is not the head honcho at SPECTRE and there's a greater mystery in store for next year.
While promoting his new film Big Eyes, Waltz spoke with Collider, where the subject of the recent script leak was addressed. When asked directly if his character was the head of the organization, the thespian seemed pretty direct in his response:
“No. No. It’s more interesting than that.”
Actors involved with major Hollywood tentpoles have a history of throwing audiences a bit of misdirection here and there during the pre-release stages in order to keep people guessing (recall Star Trek Into Darkness' "John Harrison"), but the likelihood of that happening in this instance would probably be very low. Waltz was asked about the allegiances of his character after everyone got a chance to see the powers that be at Sony openly discussing his role, where they clearly identify him as the man in charge of SPECTRE.
As such, keeping that a secret wouldn't be of much use. We'd have to assume that Waltz is telling the truth. As most know by now, the Spectre script went through a few revisions before the cameras started rolling earlier this month, so perhaps at one point Waltz was playing Blofeld (or something of his equivalent) before the third act rewrites (that MGM president Jonathan Glickman is a fan of) took place.
The development should please those who were afraid that Spectre had been spoiled as a result of the massive cyber attack on Sony's servers. By some miracle, the edits made to the finale of Spectre still aren't known (or haven't been published), so if Waltz is truly not in charge of SPECTRE, it gives the film a much-needed question that we'll look forward to answering when it comes out next fall.
Still, the new Bond movie is called Spectre after all, so it stands reason to believe that the person at the top of the group will be making some kind of an appearance. So now the discussion will turn to who that might be. One possibility could be Andrew Scott (who is playing the head of MI-5, "C"). In the leaked script, one of the twists is that he is in cahoots with Oberhauser, so C could be the puppet master pulling the strings while Oberhauser is a red herring working as the public face. That said, Waltz's comment contradicts what we previously heard about the narrative, so it's unknown how much of it is fact right now.
Regardless, it would appear that some overhaul of the script took place between the time Sony executives expressed their initial concerns and the present day when Mendes is into production. That would be all for the better, because not only would that mean viewers would be guessing throughout the film, but also whatever problems that could have derailed the plot have seemingly been addressed and Spectre can build on the momentum established in Skyfall.
Spectre will hit theaters November 6, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.