Taghmaoui told Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National that Boyle, who left the project last month, had cast him but that the film’s producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, have not yet decided on the villain’s nationality.
“I’m supposed to do the next James Bond, playing the lead bad guy,” the French-Moroccan actor told the paper. “I was cast by Danny Boyle, and just now he left the project, so of course there’s some uncertainty….
“We don’t know who the director will be, and the producers don’t know if they’re going to go Russian or Middle East with the baddie right now,” Taghmaoui added. “I literally just received a message saying: ‘If they go Middle East, it’s you. If they go Russian, it’s someone else.’ It’s the story of my life. Always on that line between something that could change my life and something that disappears.”
Reports following the Aug. 21 announcement of Boyle’s departure over “creative differences” suggested that one of the issues might have been a preference by the producers for “Cold War” actor Tomasz Kot to play a Russian villain in the film. The production company, Eon, has made no announcements concerning casting for the villain role and no further comments on what led to Boyle’s exit.
Taghmaoui said he was aware that having an Arab villain could be seen as a “big cliché” but that it hadn’t been a concern for him with the Bond movie. “If you knew how many movies I refuse because of my conscience, honestly. There is a lot of cliché and stereotyping, and you always have to try to be real – at least that’s what I try to do,” he said. “There’s always a danger, but there are also always people with good intentions and people with bad intentions. Artistically it’s great to play bad guys, but you have to watch out for the cliché and the propaganda.”
Production for the 25th Bond outing had been scheduled to begin in December at Pinewood Studios for a fall 2019 release. Variety reported last week that Eon and MGM were now looking at directors including Bart Layton (“American Animals”), Yann Demange (“White Boy Rick”) and S.J. Clarkson, who was recently tapped to direct the next “Star Trek” installment, as potential replacements for Boyle.
Taghmaoui recently appeared in Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” from Warner Bros., in which he played Sameer, a member of the team that accompanies the superhero to the front in World War I. Since his breakout role in Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 French-language crime drama “La Haine,” Taghmaoui has found regular work in the U.S. in films such as “Three Kings,” “The Kite Runner” and “G.I. Joe.” Television credits include Starz’s “The Missing” and ABC’s “Lost.”