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‘Bell’ man takes on Bond

Mathieu Amalric cast as newest 007 villian

Daniel Craig, meet your match.

Mathieu Amalric, who played a paralyzed stroke victim in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” will face off against Agent 007 in the 22nd installment in the James Bond franchise, from Columbia Pictures and MGM.

A studio exec also confirmed that Jeffrey Wright, who played CIA agent Felix Leiter in predecessor “Casino Royale,” will reprise that role in “Bond 22.”

Film begins shooting today at Pinewood Studios in London, nearly a month behind its original schedule. It is still scheduled to premiere on Nov. 7.

Bond-centric blogs have been abuzz with additional casting speculation. As part of a profile on “Bond 22” helmer Marc Forster, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported that Swiss actor Anatole Taubman has been cast as a villain/henchman, though there was no confirmation from the studios. In the interview, Forster also told the newspaper that the latest pic will delve deeper into Bond’s psyche.

Meanwhile, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and the studios are on the verge of casting a female lead and will make a decision within two weeks.

Amalric, an accomplished actor in his native France, has worked with Sony before, playing a small part in Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” for the studio.

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