When James Bond finally returns to the big screen in the much-delayed and currently untitled sequel, everybody’s favorite secret agent will likely be facing off against a new foe: Rami Malek.
The “Bohemian Rhapsody” star is in “final negotiations” to play the villain in the 25th entry in the franchise just days after he took home the Best Actor trophy at the Academy Awards, according to Collider.
Variety previously reported in December that Malek was being eyed for the role, but his filming schedule for the final season of the Emmy-winning “Mr. Robot” precluded him from fully committing to the project.
Due to the Bond film’s substantial delays ― the release date was most recently pushed back two months in early February ― Malek has now reportedly negotiated a deal that would allow him to appear on the USA series as the socially averse computer hacker and also torment Bond in the new film.
The Bond movies have a history of scooping up newly minted Oscar winners to face off against the hero with the likes of Javier Bardem and Christoph Waltz joining the franchise as villains after striking gold at the Academy Awards.
“Bond 25,” which is set to be Daniel Craig’s final mission, has undergone multiple failed launches since it was announced in 2017 with “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle at the helm.
Boyle dropped out of the project due to “creative differences,” producers of the franchise revealed in August, reportedly after clashing over the casting of the film’s villain. A month later, Cary Joji Fukunaga, whose credits include the first season of HBO’s “True Detective” and “Beasts of No Nation” was brought on board as writer and director with a new vision for the film.
“Over the years, you’ve seen a lot of different iterations not only of Bond, but of films that have mimicked it or copied it,” Fukunaga told IndieWire last year. “So I think the exciting part actually is going to the original source, and being able to play in a sandbox.”
The original script for “Bond 25” has reportedly undergone extensive rewrites with “Bourne Ultimatum” writer Scott Z. Burns among others tapped to bring Bond back to life.
Apart from Craig, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes are all set to reprise their roles in the follow-up film.
“Bond 25” is set to hit theaters in April 2020.