Bond 25 villain

Oscar winner Rami Malek is parlaying his Bohemian Rhapsody success into franchise movie stardom, taking the role of a shady villain in the still-untitled James Bond 25. All we knew about the bad guy so far came from the official press release, which referred to him as “a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology,” but now Malek is giving us a few more details about his character. Read on to learn the major condition the actor had about the villain before accepting the role.

In an interview with the UK site The Mirror, Malek reveals that he had a discussion with Bond 25 director Cary Fukunaga about the film’s villain before signing on:

“It’s a great character and I’m very excited. But that was one thing that I discussed with Cary. I said, ‘We cannot identify him with any act of terrorism reflecting an ideology or a religion. That’s not ­something I would entertain, so if that is why I am your choice then you can count me out.’ But that was clearly not his vision. So he’s a very different kind of terrorist. It’s another extremely clever script from the people who have figured out exactly what people want in those movies. But I feel a substantial weight on my shoulders. I mean, Bond is ­something that we all grow up with.”

Considering Malek’s own Egyptian background and Hollywood’s history of stereotyping Islamic extremists in action movies (looking at you, True Lies), it’s no surprise that the actor would want to make sure this film wasn’t going to contribute to that unfortunate cinematic legacy. (Not to mention the fact that it wouldn’t make sense for a recent Oscar winner, whose film career is finally on the rise, to potentially alienate a significant portion of his international audience.)

I’ve seen all of the Bond movies, and even skimming through a list of villains to refresh my memory, I don’t believe any of the franchise’s villains have ever been particularly religious – and if they have, their religion was never the primary factor driving their villainy. I suppose the most interesting thing here is that we can surmise that Malek’s character won’t be using bombs to blow anything up in the film, because historically that has been “an act of terrorism reflecting an ideology”. I’m curious about the “new technology” he’ll have, and how exactly he’ll prove to be “a very different kind of terrorist.”

We’ll find out when Bond 25 opens in U.S. theaters on April 8, 2020 and internationally April 3, 2020.

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