At this stage, only franchise star Daniel Craig and Judi Dench are confirmed to return for Bond 23, with Sam Mendes (Away We Go) directing. The casting process kicked into the next gear earlier this week, though, when Javier Bardem spoke out about possibly playing the villain. In keeping the discussion among Oscar nominees, the producers are in early talks with Ralph Fiennes to play a role.
Mendes and Fiennes are old friends, ever since the actor starred in the director’s stage production of Troilus And Cressida more than two decades ago. Fiennes is intrigued by the “darkly complex role,” which is reportedly different from the one that was offered to Bardem. Details after the break:
A Los Angeles executive close to the production tells the Daily Mail that Fiennes was hooked by Mendes’ “revolutionary” plans for the action tentpole:
“It’s the first of a new generation of Bond films, and the ideas Mendes has push the film into darker territory where the characters are modern, mature and challenging… The part is one of extreme complexity and only an actor of great ability and dexterity can take it on — and Ralph’s name is top of our list.”
I always thought the Bond series was neatly divided into generations according to the actor playing him, but I suppose the Craig years will have at least two factions. I am excited to see just what Mendes is doing to re-revolutionize the Bond series midway through Craig’s run, though.
The Daily Mail also hears that the producers are courting “a couple of other major names” to join the cast alongside Craig, Dench, and (fingers crossed) Fiennes. They engaged Kevin Spacey at one point, but he will be otherwise occupied by a stage production of Richard III.
At the moment, Fiennes and MGM are merely in discussions. But I think he should do it, and that’s probably good enough for him.
Fiennes directed and starred in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus that premieres later this month at the Berlin Film Festival. He’ll soon be seen for the final time as Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II, scheduled for release on July 15.
Bond 23 is due November 9, 2012, by which time it will hopefully have a better title than Quantum of Solace.