Rami Malek’s Safin may be the biggest Bond villain yet

Rami Malek, No Time to Die, Safin, James Bond

Over the course of the James Bond franchise, we’ve been gifted with some truly diabolical and larger-than-life villains, but the Daniel Craig-era of the franchise did away with the Goldfinger’s and the Hugo Drax’s in favour of more grounded characters. Little by little, those villains have grown more grandiose, and it would seem that the central villain of NO TIME TO DIE might just be the biggest yet.

In a recent profile of Rami Malek in GQ, NO TIME TO DIE director Cary Fukunaga said that the appearance of Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld in SPECTRE forced them to think even bigger for the sequel when they created Safin.

First of all, Rami belongs in that company and in the same breath as any of the truly great actors. The awards tell you that but so does his work. Once we got into Christoph Waltz/Blofeld territory, you can’t go small again. We had to think bigger. It’s tricky because you don’t want to make a cliché super villain, but you have to make someone that’s threatening not only to Bond and the people he loves but to the world at large.

Rami Malek added that Safin has been designed to get under your skin as the character would be more at home in a horror thriller than a James Bond movie. “We really did sit down,” Malek said, “and think about what would truly frighten us, what would send a real panic into our hearts. It’s that sense of dread that sets it apart.” In terms of what to expect from Safin in NO TIME TO DIE, Malek obviously wouldn’t say, only to tease that “no matter what you expect from this movie, you will be shocked when you watch the film.

Taking on the role of a Bond villain is no small task, and it’s one that Rami Malek couldn’t turn down. “Look, there was no way I was going to say no,” Malek said. “It’s a 007 film, man. They’re a part of our cinematic history. An opportunity to go toe-to-toe, head-to-head with Daniel [Craig] and give them all I got? That’s something I’ll look back on as as big as it gets.” For his part, Daniel Craig was thrilled to have Malek as the last villain in his fifth and final film in the franchise.

I go up against people. I’m up against him. Rami knows me. He understands the weight of what he’s playing. He understands he’s playing a Bond villain – what that means, what it means historically and the kind of Bond villains that have come before. Rami’s really good at his job. I mean, that’s an understatement.

NO TIME TO DIE will continue on where SPECTRE left off, with James Bond having left active service to begin a new life with Dr. Swann (Léa Seydoux), but Bond is soon brought back into action when Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) comes calling to enlist his help in searching for a missing scientist. When it becomes apparent that the scientist was abducted, Bond must confront a danger the likes of which the world has never seen before in a villain (Malek) armed with dangerous new technology. The film also stars Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas, Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw, Naomi Harris, Rory Kinnear, and Ralph Fiennes, with Cary Fukunaga directing from a script he co-wrote with Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. NO TIME TO DIE is currently slated to hit theaters on April 2, 2021,

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