OCHO RIOS, Jamaica (Reuters) – Oscar winner Rami Malek will play the international villain who Daniel Craig’s James Bond must battle in the British spy franchise’s 25th film set for release next year, the producers announced on Thursday.
Malek, 37, drew critical acclaim for his portrayal of Queen front man Freddie Mercury in last year’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“I promise you all I will be making sure that Mr. Bond does not have an easy ride of it,” Malek said in a recorded announcement from New York aired as part of a webcast about the new movie.
In an interview, Malek promised a different type of villain than Bond fans have come to expect.
The film will take “the perspective of what it means to be a villain, and perhaps flipping that on its head in some way, shape or form,” he said.
The still untitled movie known by the working title “Bond 25” will be Craig’s fifth go-around as Britain’s most famous fictional secret agent, and will feature on-location scenes in Jamaica, the producers said in the webcast from the Caribbean island.
After 2015 film “Spectre,” Craig had said he would rather slash his wrists than play Bond again. But in 2017, the actor confirmed he would return to the role one last time.
“A break was what I needed,” Craig told Reuters on Thursday
in Jamaica, where some of the cast members are filming. “I’m incredibly excited just to get going.”
Actors who will reprise their roles alongside Craig include Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw as Q. Joining the cast are Jeffrey Wright, Billy Magnussen and Dali Benssalah.
Producers had already announced that the movie, set for release next April, will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the man behind the first season of the U.S. television drama “True Detective.”
Among trademarks of Bond movies are their exotic locations, beginning with Jamaica when the franchise was launched with “Dr. No” in 1962.
“We consider Jamaica Bond’s spiritual home,” said producer Barbara Broccoli.
The new film will be shot in Italy, Norway and London in addition to Jamaica, the producers said.
The Bond franchise, based on the Ian Fleming novels about the British secret agent who outsmarts international villains, overcomes certain death and charms glamorous women, first hit screens during the Cold War with Sean Connery as Bond.
Bond has also been played by George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.
(Reporting by Alicia Powell in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish)