Both Variety and The Wrap have reported that their sources have confirmed Chiwetel Ejiofor as MGM’s and Sony’s top choice as the next villain to take on James Bond in the still untitled 24th James Bond movie due out November 2015. It seems the studios are looking to capitalize on Ejiofor’s unique character palette, as well as his success with last year’s Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave.
The studios’ phenomenal success with Sam Mendes’ Skyfall in 2012 could in part be due to the casting of Oscar-winner Javier Bardem, himself a unique and powerful actor, as the villain. (Not to forget Daniel Craig’s performance as the famous Double-O agent, as he certainly does an awesome Bond.) One of Bardem’s most popular roles was his Oscar-winning turn as the twisted, ruthless and psychotic killer Anton Chigurh in 2007’s No Country For Old Men. Like Bardem, along with his Oscar-nominated performance in 12 Years A Slave, Ejiofor has managed to assemble a long list of appearances that seem to defy type-casting. Whether by choice or by fate (or perhaps both), Ejiofor has maintained a low profile as a character actor willing to take on less mainstream albeit interesting roles. His turn as Mike Terry in David Mamet’s Redbelt (2008) is highly under-rated and casts a strong contrast between his more Hollywood mainstream appearances, such as the gangster brother Huey Lucas in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster or his rather forgetful appearance in the blockbuster Salt alongside Angelina Jolie.
It is worth mentioning that at this point, there have not been any official offers or negotiations, but we find it unlikely that the news would have leaked from multiple sources without the studios having at least gauged his interest. Whatever MGM and Sony are cooking with the next Bond click, Ejiofor is no doubt up to the task. We’ll have to wait and see how things play out. One can only hope, whoever they cast as the villain can bring as much talent and character experience as Ejiofor or Bardem.
We can see Ejiofor next in nuclear sci-fi flick Z For Zachariah alongside Chris Pine and The Wolf Of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie due out some time 2015.