So it turns out Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) is going up against 007 in Bond 23:
After months of speculation about who would play the villain in the next James Bond installment, we finally have an answer, friendo: Javier Bardem.
During an interview with Christiane Amanpour on Nightline, in which the Spanish actor talked about his involvement with a charity to help west Saharan refugees, Bardem confirmed that he would be playing the bad guy in Bond 23.
Bardem is a fine actor, so this is good news. I've really been enjoying the new flicks. Daniel Craig makes a fine -- if occasionally terrifying -- Bond, and I'm liking the gradual unveiling of the sinister organization known as QUANTUM.
But the news got me thinking about who might be the next Blofeld, Stromberg or Scaramanga (he wasn't that great a villain, I just like saying "Scaramanga").
Brendan Gleeson You Might Remember Him From Such Films As: Braveheart, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, In Bruges
As Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody (possessed by Barty Crouch Jr.), we caught a glimpse of the insanity required to blackmail the world with nuclear weapons or blow up the San Andreas Fault. And after playing so many sympathetic gingers, he's probably ready to unleash his inner Goldfinger.
Cate Blanchett You Might Remember Her From Such Films As: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Elizabeth, Charlotte Gray
Isn't it curious that there's never been a female Bond villain. This plays well into Ian Fleming's own misogyny, but only inadvertently. The deadlier of the species have made inroads (Sophie Marceau in The World Is Not Enough is the only one so far), but never as the mastermind. Blanchett would be a perfect foil for Daniel Craig, perhaps as the ultimate force behind QUANTUM?
Richard Jenkins You Might Remember Him From Such Films As: The Visitor, Step Brothers, Burn After Reading
Jenkins fools you with his dull, white collar exterior, but many of his characters are barely containing a darkness within. Jenkins would be that mild-mannered office manager you'd never believe was caught embezzling millions from company coffers. And using them to build a death ray.
Gary Oldman You Might Remember Him From Such Films As: Bram Stroker's Dracula, Batman Begins, Sid and Nancy
I'm not really going out on much of a limb here. Oldman has more than proven his chops and is hands down one of my favorite actors. I see his Bond nemesis as one part Zorg (The Fifth Element), two parts Ivan Korshunov (Air Force One) and one part Stansfield (The Professional). He'd still be less goofy than Max Zorin.
Tilda Swinton You Might Remember Her From Such Films As: Constantine, Michael Clayton, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Oh yeah. Swinton has, let's just go ahead and say it, an arresting appearance. Her strength is in playing normal people caught out of their depth (Michael Clayton, the upcoming We Need to Talk About Kevin), but her turn as the White Witch in the Narnia films left me wondering how she might play against someone with a license to kill instead of a sword.
Bill Murray You Might Remember Him From Such Films As: Stripes, Ghostbusters, Rushmore
Fine, I'm only half serious. And while this could go south in a hurry, if he tempered his usual shtick with some of the gravitas he was able to bring to movies like Lost in Translation, it just might work.
Or you could get a rehash of The Razor's Edge. Woof.
Tadanobu Asano You Might Remember Him From Such Films As: Ichi the Killer, Zatoichi, Thor
QUANTUM is a global organization, yeah? So why are we only getting Eurotrash bad guys so far? Give Asano a chance, I'm pretty sure he has the chops. He played Genghis fricking Khan, for crying out loud.
Also, I like how Temujin's origin story is basically the same as Conan the Barbarian's.
Idris Elba You Might Remember Him From Such Films (and TV Shows) As: The Wire, The Reaping,...Thor
A few personnel decisions aside, Stringer Bell managed a pretty damn good criminal enterprise. And if you don't think he has a dark side, go watch Luther on BBC America some time.
Michael Shannon You Might Remember Him From Such Films As: Bug, Revolutionary Road, Machine Gun Preacher
Every time I reconsider this pick, I remember two things: his performance as a father plagued with apocalyptic visions in Take Shelter, and his casting as General Zod in the next Superman reboot, Man of Steel. Hell, "General Zod" sounds like a Bond villain. Probably from the latter Roger Moore era.
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Sean Connery You Might Remember Him From Such Films As: ...are you kidding?
Come on, how perfect is this? Sure, it'd be tough to keep it from getting seriously goofy, but it's past time for Connery to play a bad guy. And what better career send-off than getting dropped into a tank full of great white sharks by the latest 007?