Hot off his Oscar win for Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek is in final negotiations to play the villain opposite Daniel Craig in writer-director Cary Joji Fukunaga‘s Bond 25, well-placed sources tell Collider.
Variety previously reported that Malek was being eyed for the gig, but said his shooting schedule for the final season of Mr. Robot conflicted with the Bond 25 shoot, and that he was never formally offered the part by Eon. Sources tell Collider, however, that Malek’s team at WME has successfully negotiated his shooting schedule to accommodate both productions. There is no deal quite yet, but one is expected to make — the sides just wanted to wait and see whether Malek would win the Oscar, which would, of course, raise his quote.
There aren’t really any character details available, though the villain has been rumored to be a blind man. Moroccan actor Said Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman) has previously said that he was under consideration to play the Bond 25 villain when Danny Boyle was directing the film. Malek is of Egyptian descent, so I assume the script calls for a villain from Northern Africa.
Lea Seydoux is confirmed to return as psychologist Madeleine Swann, while Spectre actors Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes are also slated to reprise their roles. Scott Z. Burns was recently tapped to rewrite Fukunaga’s script, and Collider’s sources have echoed reports out of the U.K. that have the director eyeing Malek’s fellow Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o for a key role, though it’s unclear whether the actress has any interest in joining the Bond franchise. Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are producing Bond 25, which is expected to be Craig’s last as 007.
It should be noted that Mr. Robot is produced by Universal Cable Productions, and Universal Pictures is handling international distribution on Bond 25, which will hit U.S. theaters on April 8, 2020 via MGM and Annapurna’s new joint venture United Artists Releasing. Our own esteemed editor-in-chief Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub confirmed production has been pushed from March to April. We’re not saying that shift was to accommodate Malek, but I think it certainly helped the situation. Since Mr. Robot is supposedly shooting until July, it’s possible Malek’s scenes in Bond 25 will be back-loaded, since the shoot is expected to last many months, and tentpole productions are rarely filmed in a linear fashion.
In addition to his impressive turn as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek recently starred opposite Charlie Hunnam in an underrated remake of Papillon. You’ll be able to hear him as the voice of Chee-Chee in Universal’s Robert Downey Jr. movie The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle. Malek is represented by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and representatives for the actor did not respond to multiple requests for comment over the past 48 hours.
MGM declined to comment.