David Dencik Talks Being The Mad Professor Of No Time To Die And Ruining Perfectly Good Soup [Interview]

David Dencik may not be playing one of 007's rivals in "No Time to Die," but the "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" star still has a pivotal place in James Bond history. Dencik plays Valdo Obruchev, the scientist who is not only responsible for a deadly virus falling into the wrong hands, but the creator of the controversial concoction whose origin comes from a surprising place close to James Bond himself. 

Ahead of the release of "No Time to Die," arriving on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD this week, we spoke to David Dencik about getting caught up in all the blockbuster action, falling through an elevator shaft, and ruining some delicious soup. 

"It was pretty high up. I was not comfortable with that."

*This interview has been edited for content and clarity*

Did you grow up as a James Bond fan?

I did watch a lot of Roger Moore. I was born in 1974, so he was my Bond at the time. We would go to the rental store, pick up VHS cassettes and watch them, much to my parents' disliking. But then, as I grew up, I kind of stopped watching Bond. Other films became more relevant. I did watch some of the Pierce Brosnan films, but when Daniel craig became the new James Bond, it was very modernized, and it also had some of my Danish acting colleagues in them; Mads Mikkelsen was in "Casino Royale" and Jesper Christensen was in a couple of the others too, I think.


So then there was a national interest in the Bond, and I started watching them again. I think that all of the Bond films in Daniel's interpretation are somehow relevant to me as an actor as well. They have interesting stuff when it comes to dialogue, acting and whatnot.

Was there any moment on set while shooting where it really settled in that you were part of James Bond history now?

No, I was just so focused all the time on doing my thing. I didn't want to screw up. So I didn't want start romanticizing or holding a mirror up, kind of dwelling on it, because it would stop me from being focused and on point.

That's fair.

But then, at some point on a boat, on a fishing boat outside Jamaica, where Valdo ends up after they escape from Cuba, I was there with Billy Magnussen, my acting colleague, and he pulled me aside and said, "David, we're in a Bond movie." It really dawned upon me when he said that.

That's great.


What was that process of filming the action sequences like? Obviously you're not necessarily leading the charge or doing any of the shooting, but you're still caught up in everything.

Yeah, there was a lot of that. I had two extras, or body doubles, stunt men, helping me on a daily basis. They would do all the tricky stuff except, I guess I can say this, I don't know. There's a scene in the beginning where I get kidnapped, and I fall through an elevator shaft. They wired me and pulled me up, and I was supposed to fall down. It was pretty high up. I was not comfortable with that. I was on the third floor of a street building, falling with my own weight towards the ground. There was concrete ground. There were maybe some mattresses there, and Valdo was scared. But there was no acting involved in that moment. It kind of came very naturally, me being a bit anxious, so that wasn't too cool. But I did it.

Early on in the movie, you're pretty perturbed that your soup gets ruined. What kind of soup was it? And is there a soup that would be worth risking small pox for?

I don't know. I mean, it was a chicken soup, I think it said that, didn't it? But now that you pop the question, in the case of Valdo Obruchev, we should have had Borscht, the beat roots soup. But for some reason it's a chicken soup in my mind. I don't know if it's said. Does it say on the container?

I don't think so.

It says Valdo's soup. Kind of cute, isn't it?

"It's a bit like casting Santa Claus."

Obviously this is the end of Daniel Craig's tenure as James Bond, in quite a grand fashion.

Fifteen years, I think it is.

Yeah. So where would you like to see James Bond go next? What do you think the best approach is?

Oh, I'd love to be in the room where they develop that. There's a heritage to lift. You still have to make a Bond film with all the elements in it. You also have to lift the heritage from where Daniel left off. So what would I like? I mean, it has to be the same somehow. It cannot differ too much, because then it's no longer a Bond movie. So you have to be true to the tradition of a Bond movie.

This one feels like it's been so much more serious and grounded. Do you feel like maybe it should lean back into the campiness of the classic Bond movies?

I think, with all humbleness, that's kind of what I try to bring to this particular Bond film, so that it actually taps into some of the quirkiness and some of the mad professor. Looking at all the Bond villains from the '70s and '80s, they're pretty out there. They're quite eccentric, clothing-wise, dialect-wise and all thatstuff. I think the fact that they had the courage and the self confidence to do that in "No Time to Die" honors them.

Any thoughts on who should maybe put on the tuxedo next?

Everybody asks, and I defend myself with saying I'm not a UK actor nor an American actor. So I wouldn't know. You know the young actors in their 20s, but I don't know their names really well. I don't know who they are, but I'm sure there's somebody somewhere. They're probably on it already. It'll be interesting to see where it goes, but it's a bit like casting Santa Claus. It has to be a certain person, a certain type, and it's going to be a headache. It's going to be difficult for sure.

"No Time to Die" arrives on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD on December 21, 2021.