There was talk a month ago from The Daily Mail that Bond 23 director Sam Mendes and producer Barbara Broccoli had already had meetings on casting for James Bond’s next mission including a specific mention of Broccoli going to see the play Deathtrap twice to see Simon Russell Beale. At the time it was thought that Beale (if cast) would be playing a villain mainly due to comments he’s made in the past.
“Every actor wants to be in Bond. I’d love to be a baddie. I saw Sam just before Christmas and dropped a hint – and he just looked wearily at me.” – Simon Russell Beale (referring to Christmas 2009)
The Telegraph jumps in with a story today saying that Simon is in detailed talks to play “a good guy” and that he reached out to Mendes to plead his case. Simon Russell Beale and Sam Mendes are good friends and have worked together several times, most recently in 2009 on The Winter’s Tale. They are schedule to work together again on King Lear sometime in 2012.
If this rumor is true, then what good guy could Beale play? If this character is an established one, then don’t think too hard about it. Messervy (aka M) is the obvious choice. That just leaves a question about Judi Dench. Or what about Q? Would be less comedic following than the later appearances of Desmond Llewelyn and obviously John Cleese. Maybe more of a Peter Burton armourer. Still possible. Also possible is another Rene Mathis character type. Worked well for both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
Beale recently was the voice of George Smiley in a BBC Radio 4 adaptation of all the John Le Carré novels.