French actor Saïd Taghmaoui has said that he was in line to play the villain in Bond 25, painting a picture of the seeming indecision surrounding the production following Danny Boyle’s exit.
Taghmaoui, who played the spy Sameer in Wonder Woman and made his name in Mathieu Kassovitz’s classic La Haine, told The National that there is now some uncertainty as to whether he will be in the movie or not.
“I’m supposed to do the next James Bond, playing the lead bad guy,” he said.
“I was cast by Danny Boyle, and just now he left the project, so of course there’s some uncertainty.
“We don’t know who the director will be, and the producers don’t know if they’re going to go Russian or Middle East with the baddie right now.
“I literally just received a message saying: ‘If they go Middle East, it’s you. If they go Russian, it’s someone else.’
“It’s the story of my life. Always on that line between something that could change my life and something that disappears.”
Following Boyle’s departure, there has been much debate over precisely why he left, Eon and MGM used the catch-all, rumour mill-sparking term ‘creative differences’.
Some of the first rumours suggested that producers had got cold feet over the prospect of a Russian villain in the movie, given current political tensions, which would perhaps feed into Taghmaoui’s remarks.
Meanwhile, other rumours suggested that his departure was linked to his desire to cast Polish actor Tomasz Kot as the movie’s villain.
Boyle himself seemed to hint in an interview conducted just a few days before the announcement he’d quit, which seemed to suggest his own fandom may have been to blame.
“The books were everything to me when I was a kid. I read them multiple times,” he told the Radio Times.
“Like everyone else, I saw the films, but I’d already read the books so I had a different relationship with the characters.
“Although I think it’d be impossible for a Bond aficionado to write or direct a Bond film. You’d be hampered by how much you knew. They want you to bring a freshness to it.”
The shortlist for who will take over from Danny Boyle is said to be rounding on upcoming Star Trek 4 director S.J. Clakston, Yann Demange and Bart Layton.