The Daily Mail is always a bit of a risky source for stories about film productions, but writer Baz Bamigboye is an award-winning career journalist, so he’s probably not making this shit up wholesale. In any event, according to Baz’s sources, Ralph Fiennes is in line to to take a major role in the next Bond film, to be directed by Sam Mendes. This comes hot on the heels of news that Javier Bardem is in talks to portray whatever villainous prick distracts Bond from bitterly banging beautiful women, with some evil scheme or another. Apparently these aren’t overlapping discussions for the same part- Fiennes will be playing a different, not necessarily antagonistic role. It is said to be a “darkly complex” character though, one that drew Fiennes interest because it’s not the run-of-the-mill action movie role.

There’s nothing about this that rings immediatley false- Fiennes and Mendes have a theater background together, and Fiennes isn’t morally opposed to blockbusters as evidenced by his central involvement in the Potter franchise. Frankly, prestige’ing up the cast sounds exactly like something Mendes would do and whether or not it ends up successful, I can’t imagine he’d take on the project without an intention to load it with thematic texture (Baz’s source claims Mendes is taking Bond into “darker territory where the characters are modern, mature and challenging.”) If any of these discussions and rumors prove true, we could have a very classy Bond film ahead of us.

I grow increasingly bummed out that the major industry trade journalists diving into the blogging game has resulted in the start of casting leaks creeping earlier and earlier into the process of these films. It’s growing to the point that we’ll be reporting on director’s bedside notepads, where they scribble down ideas they have in the middle of the night. It’s the nature of the game these days, and we all play it, but when I hear casting news that actually excites me, I’m always a little leery that all of the premature coverage might fuck these discussions up! All of this to say- I like the idea of Craig, Fiennes, and Bardem all mixing it up in a high-caliber spy story, and I’ll be pleased if it turns out to be the case.

Solidified casting announcements should come sooner rather than later, probably around the same time that we hear a final title.

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