In the upcoming final James Bond movie featuring Daniel Craig in the lead role, No Time to Die, Agent 007 faces a powerful new antagonist in the form of Safin, played by Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek. In an interview with British GQ, the director of the movie, Cary Joji Fukunaga, explained why Malek was chosen to play the final Bond villain against Craig.
“First of all, Rami belongs in that company and in the same breath as any of the truly great actors. The awards tell you that but so does his work. Once we got into Christoph Waltz/Blofeld territory, you can’t go small again. We had to think bigger. It’s tricky because you don’t want to make a clich&é supervillain, but you have to make someone that’s threatening not only to Bond and the people he loves but to the world at large.”
The reinvention of the James Bond franchise under Daniel Craig saw the series let go of the more cartoonish Bond villains in favor of world-class actors giving grounded takes on the films’ bad guys. From Mads Mikkelsen and Mathieu Amalric in Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace, to Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva in Skyfall and most recently Christoph Waltz as Ernst Blofeld in Spectre, the new breed of Bond villains have an understated air of menace that feels like they could actually belong in the real world.
It is in this distinguished company that Malek is preparing to make his entry in No Time to Die. According to Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was brought on to write additional scenes and dialogs for the upcoming movie, Malek brings a unique mix of villainy and tenderness to the role of Safin that makes the character a standout.
“Not many actors can revel so gloriously in being creepy while maintaining a sort of wonky humanity. I think the best villains dare to have a tease of something soft in their eye and Rami knows exactly how to do that.”
Not much is known about Safin at this point. But various hints included in No Time to Die’s promotional materials have led fans to surmise that the character is a former SPECTRE agent, and has some sort of a connection to Dr. Madeleine Swann, the woman Bond is in love with. There are also rumors that Safin is a modern interpretation of the iconic villain Dr. No, who first appeared in the 1962 Bond movie of the same name. While Malek can neither confirm nor deny the rumor, he promised No Time to Die will shock the audience.
“Let the rumors fly. because no matter what you expect from this movie, you will be shocked when you watch the film. I will not add any fuel to that fire.”
Directed and co-written by Cary Fukunaga, No Time to Die features Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, L&éa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Ana de Armas, Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, and Rami Malek. This news originated at GQ.