Bond is back! With yesterday’s official announcement of a new cast — a month after filming actually started — the secretive producers of the great British spy franchise have lifted the veil, just a little, on what’s next for 007.
Bond 25, as it is known for now, will come out in April next year and Daniel Craig, 51, will play James Bond for a fifth and final time. In doing so, he will become the longest-serving Bond, as well as the best-paid one.
Opposite him will be Egyptian-American Oscar-winner Rami Malek, Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, who is to play his would-be nemesis.
James Bond actor Daniel Craig, 51, was joined by (L-R) returning cast member Léa Seydoux (Dr Madeleine Swann), and new Bond Girl Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris (Eve Moneypenny) and second new Bond Girl Lashana Lynch for the reveal
Lea, Daniel, Ana, Naomie and Lashana joined Michael G Wilson, Cary Fukunaga and Barbara Broccoli are pictured together at a photocall yesterday
Daniel, 51, revealed his favourite Bond gadget is the classic Aston Martin DB5, seen in 1964’s Goldfinger
Naomie Harris, who plays Eve Moneypenny, said it ‘felt right’ to have Bond return to Jamaica, as they were joined by newest Bond Girl Ana
Young British actress Lashana Lynch and the Cuban-Spanish Ana de Armas will be playing supplementary roles — and the film’s politically correct PR machine went to painful lengths to avoid describing them as ‘Bond Girls’.
During the whole launch event, none of the cast or crew uttered the now apparently taboo phrase. Perhaps Bond has finally grown out of his womanising, as French actress Lea Seydoux, his girlfriend Madeleine Swann in Spectre, is to return, too.
The cast posed for pictures on the Laughing Waters beach in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where Ursula Andress memorably rose from the waves in the first James Bond film, 1962’s Dr No.
So, what else has been revealed about the new film? ALISON BOSHOFF reports . . .
The film opens with Bond in Jamaica, having left active service. His peace is interrupted by the arrival of his old CIA buddy, Felix Leiter, who needs Bond’s help for a mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist. That leads him into conflict with a mysterious villain armed with ‘new technology’.
Provisionally called Shatterhand, after an alias used by Bond’s old nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the new film is said to be a ‘free’ remake of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It will follow on from Spectre, which saw Blofeld defeated and Bond race off into the sunset with psychiatrist Madeleine Swann.
Much of the movie will be shot at Pinewood Studios, although parts will also be filmed at locations in Norway, Italy and Jamaica.
Some of the cast and crew sat down for a candid Q&A – with Dali Benssalah, Lashana Lynch, Ana De Armas, David Dencik and Billy Magnussen joining the cast for Bond 25
A press conference announcing the new film was held at Ian Fleming’s ‘Goldeneye’ villa in Jamaica (pictured)
On-screen lovers Léa Seydoux (Dr Madeleine Swann) and James Bond actor Daniel Craig posed up on the lawn
Miss Moneypenny actress Naomie dazzled in a gorgeous yellow dress as the cast of Bond 25 was revealed
Lea Seydoux (left) and Ana de Armas pose for photographers during the photo call of the latest installment of the James Bond film franchise
Ana de Arma will join the cast of Bond 25 alongside French actress Lea Seydoux, who will reprise her role as Bond’s girlfriend Madeleine Swann
Beauty: The Cuban-Spanish actress has been dating Cuban visual artist Alejandro Pineiro Bell since 2018. She was previously married to actor Marc Clotet from 2011 to 2013
THE FRENCH SUPERSTAR
Once described by the boss of the Cannes film festival as ‘Bardot, plus Binoche, plus Kate Moss, and sometimes all three at once’, Lea Seydoux is reprising her role as Madeleine Swann.
The French actress said that when she was offered the part, ‘I thought: ‘Right, I really have to go for it — work on my English accent, do some sport, get fit.’
‘The main role is James Bond, but when she comes on, you have to really notice her.’
The reluctant Bond: How Daniel Craig said he’d ‘rather slash his wrists’ than do another
This will be the fifth Bond film for Daniel Craig, now 51. He said yesterday: ‘The movies have been an event for myself and it feels right that we are coming home here to Jamaica.’
Producer Barbara Broccoli says: ‘He’s the greatest Bond there’s ever been.’ He has certainly earned a fortune, with a recent rich list reckoning he is worth £125 million.
Craig has slimmed down since 2014 (left), ahead of shooting for the new film
He was said to have earned £1.9 million for Casino Royale in 2006, £4.4 million for Quantum Of Solace in 2008, £10.7 million to make Skyfall in 2012 and £25 million to make Spectre in 2015.
During a publicity tour for Spectre, Craig said he would sooner slash his wrists than carry on, but he seems to have changed his mind — no doubt for another bumper payday. Some reports suggest he is getting £50 million for coming back one last time.
More than enough consolation, one would think, for the gruelling exercise regime which Craig undertakes when preparing for the role.
Craig says the focus on Bond’s physical appearance is ‘a drag’, but fans will note that gone is the fuller figure of 2014. Back is the lean torso ready for action.
He lives with British actress Rachel Weisz, 48, and their eight-month-old daughter in Brooklyn.
Her father is the CEO of a large electronics company, while her grandfather was the boss of the Pathe film company. Her mother, Valérie Schlumberger, was a costume designer, novelist and actor before founding an eco-crafts company based in Senegal.
She is the youngest of seven children. She had son Georges, by boyfriend Andre Meyer, in 2017.
THE NEW STAR BADDIE
Rami Malek, 37, joined in with the Jamaican press conference via video link, as he is currently filming a TV show in New York.
He said: ‘I’m not jealous one bit that you’re all in the absolutely stunning setting of Ian Fleming’s iconic Caribbean home Goldeneye on the island of Jamaica. No, not at all.
‘I’m stuck here in New York in production, but I’m very much looking forward to joining the whole cast and crew so very soon.
‘I promise you all I will be making sure that Mr Bond doesn’t have an easy ride of it in his 25th outing.’
He was born in Los Angeles to Said Malek and Nelly Abdel-Malek, Egyptian immigrants who had left Cairo in 1978. His father was a tour guide in Egypt and sold insurance in America, while his mother is an accountant.
He was raised a Coptic Christian and spoke Arabic at home. He is a twin — brother Sami is an English teacher — and he has an older sister, Yasmine, who is a doctor.
His parents had hoped that he would be a lawyer, but, at Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles, he was drawn to drama and musical theatre. Actress Kirsten Dunst was in the year below him. He went on to study theatre in Indiana.
He told an interviewer: ‘My family are very creative, very intelligent, very lovable. But I’m first generation American. I don’t think my parents ever thought that being an actor would be the best use of this transatlantic trip of theirs’
He added: ‘I definitely felt that, culturally, I came from a different background than 95 per cent of the kids I was around. We were speaking Arabic at home. There was a feeling of being inherently different.’
Success was far from instant; it has taken him 15 years to become an overnight sensation.
Malek (pictured) played a pharaoh in the Night At The Museum films, and then a Middle Eastern baddie in 24. The drama Mr Robot, which premiered in 2015, put him in another league. He played Elliot, a morphine-addicted hacker and anti-hero. He was named Best Actor in a Drama Series at the Emmy awards in 2016.
He then went on to sweep the board at the awards this year with his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. He is dating British actress Lucy Boynton — who played Mercury’s lover Mary Austin in the film Bohemian Rhapsody.
Details on the hotly anticipated Bond 25 were revealed for the first time yesterday – with Oscar winner Rami Malek taking on the role of the suave Secret Service agent’s latest nemesis
Rami Malek, 37, joined in with the Jamaican press conference via video link, as he is currently filming a TV show in New York
Newest Bond villain Rami won an Oscar in 2019 (L) for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (R
Mr Robot star Rami was seen in New York City on Thursday after his role in the flick was announced
FOUR WRITERS . . . INCLUDING FLEABAG
Long-serving Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have previously written six Bond films, including all four Craig outings, as well as the final two starring his predecessor, Pierce Brosnan. They have written this script, too.
Scott Z. Burns, who wrote The Bourne Ultimatum, has contributed and, last month, Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge was recruited to ‘liven up’ the script and add a more modern sensibility with some last-minute tweaks. Producer Michael G. Wilson said: ‘We do update the stories and we do update the plots, but we stay true to the character.’
Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge (centre, with Idina Moncreiffe and Hans Frank) was recruited to ‘liven up’ the script and add a more modern sensibility with some last-minute tweaks
THE HOTSHOT DIRECTOR
The film has had a troubled genesis, with Trainspotting director Danny Boyle quitting last year after Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig decided that they didn’t like his bold plan to kill off 007.
In his place comes Cary Joji Fukunaga, 41, the director of the first season of the HBO series True Detective, which featured Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.
Fukunaga, who grew up in San Francisco, also directed, wrote and produced the film Beasts Of No Nation. He said yesterday: ‘Daniel is my favourite Bond. It’s definitely an honour, now I’m chomping at the bit to get started.’
He added: ‘I want to make sure that this run of films have a really
great next chapter and just keep upping the ante so whoever is next has a harder job.’
Cary Joji Fukunaga, 41, the director of the first season of the HBO series True Detective, will direct the new film. He is pictured here alongside Craig
Cary, Daniel and Ana larked about for the cameras at the launch event in Jamaica
Newest Bond Girl Ana de Armas, 30, recently starred in 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, with her first Hollywood role in 2015, when she appeared in Knock Knock alongside Keanu Reeves
Sexy! A quick look at Ana’s Instagram platform shows her love for travel, with the beauty regularly uploading sizzling bikini and nearly-nude snaps from idyllic destinations
Impresario ‘Cubby’ Broccoli bought the film rights to the James Bond books in 1961 and his company Eon Productions (standing for ‘everything or nothing’) is still in charge.
Cubby’s glamorous, driven daughter Barbara, 58, is now the boss, along with her half-brother Michael G. Wilson, 77.
Wilson once told an interviewer: ‘Barbara scares the hell out of people. Everyone is frightened to death of her.’
Barbara and Wilson took over at Eon in 1995, the year before Cubby died. She has veto over every piece of casting, script, marketing and product placement.
She decided in 2005 that there ought to be a new Bond, which meant the end for Pierce Brosnan. It was her decision to pick Daniel Craig, whom she had seen in the film Layer Cake. There were complaints he was too blonde, too short and not handsome enough, but the gamble paid off in spectacular style, as his films revived the franchise.
She told an interviewer that the guiding rule was to go big — always. She said: ‘My dad was always about ‘put the money on the screen’. You have to surpass each one.’
Daniel kicked off his Bond journey with a bang back in 2006, with the release of Casino Royale
In Bond 25, the agent has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica but his peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix from the CIA turns up asking for help (above in 2015’s Spectre)
From Hammersmith to Hollywood: How English actress Lashana Lynch became on of two new Bond girls
English actress Lashana Lynch, from Hammersmith, West London, is one of two (whisper it) Bond Girls in the new film. She gained a BA in drama from the ArtsEd school in Chiswick and had small roles in TV shows Death In Paradise and Silent Witness.
Her first film was the sports comedy Fast Girls, alongside Lily James in 2011. Her breakthrough role was alongside Brie Larson in Captain Marvel — she stars as ace pilot and single mum Maria Rambeau. She told Vanity Fair magazine: ‘Women, let’s just start with that, are superheroes just by being born.’
Lashana Lynch (left) and Ana de Armas (right) will join the cast for Bond 25
She was raised by a single mum and said: ‘My mum’s really open about the power that it takes to do that job, and the fact that society judges you and makes you feel less than, when, really, you’re more than, because you’re doing everybody’s job at the same time. Single mums doing a million jobs at once and hardly complaining — superheroes.’
Another newcomer is Ana de Armas (pictured left). Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, she went to Cuba’s National Theatre School. She moved to Spain as an adult and was in a TV soap opera set in a boarding school. As well as appearing in Blade Runner 2049 with Ryan Gosling, she has also appeared in War Dogs opposite Miles Teller and in action thriller Overdrive alongside Scott Eastwood.
She will be seen this summer in the Beatles film Yesterday alongside Lily James. She’s also in Knives Out, along with Daniel Craig, which comes out in November. She filmed numerous racy love scenes in 2016 boxing drama Hands Of Stone.