Producers are continuing their search for two female roles — one a new MI6 agent and the other an accomplice similar to Olga Kurylenko’s character in “Quantum of Solace” — the main villain, and an American CIA agent similar to Jeffrey Wright’s in past installments.
Sources indicate that Billy Magnussen is the top choice to play the CIA operative that crosses paths with Bond, though it’s not known if an actual offer is on the table. Magnussen already has a working relationship with “Bond 25” writer-director Cary Joji Fukunaga after recently appearing on his Netflix series, “Maniac.” Insiders say, before coming on to “Bond 25,” Fukunaga had already tried to cast him in his Leonard Bernstein pic, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, that was shelved, and that Fukunaga’s most recent draft had the character written younger to fit Magnussen’s age.
As for the villain, sources indicate there is renewed interest in tapping recent Oscar winner Rami Malek, after it was initially thought that scheduling could not be worked out with his commitments on the final season of “Mr. Robot.” Insiders say while meetings with other talent have taken place, producers never wavered on trying to land the role for Malek and have worked hard for months to accommodate both shoots.
The two female leads seem to be the most open-ended as of now. Further chemistry reads with Craig are still being scheduled, since these two characters will spend the most amount of time with him on screen. It’s unknown how far along they are in this process.
MGM had no comment regarding any news related to casting for the film.
Fukunaga turned in his recent draft at the beginning of the year, and while reports surfaced that major rewrite work was done to the script, sources say no significant changes were made, and the producers and Craig were excited with what Fukunaga had delivered.
Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, and Naomie Harris will also be reprising their roles in the new installment. A recent release date change from Feb. 14 to April 8, 2020, positioned the 25th entry in the series better for the summer season.
Universal will be handling international distribution on “Bond 25,” while MGM oversees domestic in partnership with Annapurna through the new United Artists Releasing label.