Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

Rami Malek to play villain in 'Bond 25'

Egyptian/American actor follows up Oscars glory with role in long-running blockbuster

Rami Malek, pictured with his Best Actor Oscar following the 2019 Academy Awards, will appear in the new James Bond film. AFP
Rami Malek, pictured with his Best Actor Oscar following the 2019 Academy Awards, will appear in the new James Bond film. AFP

Oscar-winner Rami Malek is lined up to play the villain in the forthcoming Bond 25, which is provisionally going under the working title of Shatterhand.

Collider reports that Malek has successfully arranged his shooting schedule for the final season of Mr Robot to accommodate the Bond shoot, which is expected to begin in April. Collider adds that no deal has yet been signed, although it is expected to be imminently, as both sides were waiting to see if Malek would pick up the Best Actor prize at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony. He did, which has presumably given his pay check for Bond a healthy boost.

Little is known script-wise about the upcoming Bond movie, although it seems an Arab villain could be on the cards. The movie was initially due to be directed by Danny Boyle, who left the project due to “creative differences” with Daniel Craig and the producers, and Boyle had cast Moroccan actor and Wonder Woman star Said Taghmaoui as his villain, as reported exclusively by The National last September.

Taghmaoui admitted at the time that there was some uncertainty concerning his casting thanks to Boyle’s departure, and it would appear that new director Cary Fukunaga has set his sights on a more topically decorated actor for his villain.

The nationality of Bond’s latest nemesis is far from certain however. Like many Middle Eastern actors in Hollywood, Malek has historically been offered several roles as terrorist caricatures. Now he has more clout in Hollywood, however, Malek has now tried to draw a line under such cliches.

“In the past it was like, ‘Oh well, he’s an acceptable terrorist! He’s an accessible terrorist!” Malek told GQ this month. “But after I did that I said to myself, ‘You know what? No more. This is not how I want it.’”

So, Malek drew a line with his agents. “Any calls that come about playing Arabs or Middle Easterners in a negative light? I don’t need to respond to any of them anymore. No more of this.”

Unconfirmed reports also claim the next Bond villain will be blind.

If cast, Malek will join Daniel Craig, reportedly making his last film as the British superspy, Lea Seydoux, returning as psychiatrist Madelaine Swann, and series regulars Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw.

Bond 25 is due to land in cinemas in April 2020

Updated: March 2, 2019 10:50 AM

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