Rami Malek Reportedly in Final Talks for James Bond Villain Role

Rami Malek is reportedly lined up to play the villain in the next James Bond series film.

Malek, who won a Best Actor Oscar for portraying Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, is said to be "in final negotiations" in a villain role in the series' upcoming film, currently known as Bond 25 or Shatterhand.

It was previously reported by Variety that the 37-year-old actor was eyed for the role, but Collider now reports that scheduling issues with Malek's USA Network show Mr. Robot have been worked out, basically finalizing the casting.

"Sources tell Collider, however, that Malek’s team at WME has successfully negotiated his shooting schedule to accommodate both productions," Collider's Jeff Sneider writes. "There is no deal quite yet, but one is expected to make — the sides just wanted to wait and see whether Malek would win the Oscar, which would, of course, raise his quote."

The exact details of the role are under wraps, but the outlet notes that the character is rumored to be blind and of Northern African descent. Malek is the son of Egyptian immigrants, so that alleged aspect of the character lines up.

Actors confirmed to return for the film, the fifth in the character's modern incarnation, include Craig, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes and Lea Seydoux. It will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, known for helming True Detective Season 1 and Netflix projects Beasts of No Nation and Maniac.

Craig's return was initially up in the air, as the Bond actor had publicly expressed his distaste in continuing in the role.

"The best acting is when you’re not concerned about the surface. And Bond is the opposite of that," Craig told Time Out in 2015. "You have to be bothered about how you’re looking. It’s a struggle. I know that how Bond wears a suit and walks into a room is important. But as an actor I don’t want to give a f— about what I look like! So I have to play with both things. In a way that works, as that’s Bond: he looks good and he doesn’t give a f— what you think he looks like!"

He went on to say he he could not imagine doing another Bond movie so soon after 2015's Spectre.

"Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists," he said. "No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on."

However, he has since changed his tune. He told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show in 2017 that he was ready to return and regretted the "slash my wrists remark.

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"I think this is it. I just want to go out on a high note. I can’t wait," he said. "There's no point in making excuses about (my remarks). It was two days after I finished shooting the last movie. Instead of saying something with style and grace, I gave a really stupid answer."

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