(Reuters) – Oscar winner Rami Malek will play the international villain who Daniel Craig’s James Bond must battle in the British spy franchise’s 25th film set for release next year, the producers announced on Thursday.
Malek, 37, who drew critical acclaim for his portrayal of Queen front man Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” last year, will play Bond’s nemesis in the upcoming film, which goes by the working title “Bond 25,” producers said.
“I promise you all I will be making sure that Mr. Bond does not have an easy ride of it in this his 25th outing,” Malek said in a recorded announcement from New York that was aired as part of a webcast about the new movie.
The still untitled movie will be Craig’s fifth go-around as Britain’s most famous fictional secret agent, and will feature on-location scenes in Jamaica, the producers said in the webcast from the Caribbean island.
Actors who will reprise their roles alongside Craig in the 2015-released “Spectre” include Ralph Fiennes as M, Léa Seydoux as Madeleine, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Rory Kinnear as Tanner, the producers said.
Other actors joining the “Bond 25” cast are Jeffrey Wright Billy Magnussen, Dali Benssalah, Ana De Armas, David Dencik and LaShana Lynch, they said.
Producers had already announced that the movie, set for release next April, will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the man behind the first season of the U.S. drama “True Detective” and the Netflix comedy “Maniac.”
Among the trademarks of Bond movies are their exotic locations, beginning with Jamaica when the franchise was launched with “Dr. No” in 1962 and featuring the spy’s introduction to a bikini-clad Ursula Andress on an empty beach.
Jamaica, where Bond was created by novelist Ian Fleming, will again be among the locales for the upcoming film, along with Italy, Norway and London, the producers said.
“We consider Jamaica Bond’s spiritual home,” said Barbara Broccoli, one of the film’s producers.
The Bond franchise, based on the novels about the British secret agent who outsmarts international villains, overcomes certain death and charms glamorous women, first hit screens during the Cold War with Sean Connery as Bond.
Connery’s second appearance as Bond was in 1963 in “From Russia With Love.” He would go on to do five additional Bond movies.
Bond has also been played by George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely; editing by Jonathan Oatis)