Chiwetel Ejiofor tipped as James Bond's next arch-nemesis

Film industry reports claim the Oscar-nominated actor will be 007's next sinister adversary

Forget 007's lovers, his boss M or even gadget expert extraordinaire Q; everyone knows there is only one true co-star in each James Bond movie: his arch-nemesis. That's how Goldfinger, Dr No, Blofeld and Le Chiffre, the most memorable Bond villains, have become almost as treasured in British film culture as the great spy himself.

That makes landing the coveted role a very big deal for the actor in question. That man, industry reports insist, is Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Oscar-nominated star of 12 Years a Slave. If true, he would follow Javier Bardem, another Oscar favourite, who was electrifying as Raoul Silva in the most recent Bond film, Skyfall, which took $1.1bn (£660m) at the box office. As then, Sam Mendes will direct.

Ejiofor, whose recent performances on the big screen and on stage have cemented him among Britain's acting elite, would join Daniel Craig as Bond, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomi Harris as Moneypenny; and Ben Whishaw as Q. Production of the 24th film, which is scheduled to be released on 6 November 2015, is due to start this summer.

David Black, chairman of the James Bond International Fan Club, said yesterday: "If the production company can hook an actor of Ejiofor's calibre for a key role they'll be well on their way to another winner. He named The Godfather and Fargo as two of his all-time favourite films – that must say something about his likes for a good villain."

Daniel Craig in a ‘Casino Royale’ promotional still Daniel Craig in a ‘Casino Royale’ promotional still Since his performance as Solomon Northup in Twelve Years a Slave, the 36-year-old actor has dominated the limelight. Ejiofor was born into a Nigerian family in south-east London and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. He played a villain early on in his career with the part of The Operative in the 2005 film Serenity.

He has also had leading roles in Dirty Pretty Things, Children of Men and Four Brothers. He is currently filming Z for Zachariah, an American sci-fi film, and Triple Nine, in which he plays a cop alongside Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck.

The prospective Bond casting has not met with everyone's approval. Ashley Clark, film critic for Sight & Sound, the BFI, and Little White Lies, said: "It's a shame that we're not hearing that he's been cast as the first black Bond.

"I guess we'll have to wait some time for that… though I'm sure it will happen one day. That said, Ejiofor playing a villain will probably rule him out from doing the role himself, which is a shame."

Kate Upton and Helen Flanagan are among the list of actresses rumoured to be cast as the new Bond girl. And the search is still on for a Scandinavian love interest for the spy. MGM and Sony declined to comment on the latest speculation.

Although a phoney Bond trailer, called Come and Dive has been fooling fans in recent weeks, the official title and plot details of the next film in the spy franchise have yet to be announced.

Dave Calhoun, global film editor at Time Out, backed Ejiofor, saying: "He's a fine and variable actor who has shone in sci-fi, drama, comedy and more, so he's more than capable of playing a Bond villain.

"What's less predictable is the script. If the villain is ill-conceived, like Mathieu Amalric's in Quantum of Solace, then it doesn't matter who plays him. It won't work.

"In the last film, Bardem's great villain was a triumph of actor, director and script. It's never one alone."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury


Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas


Arts and Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7


Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary


Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions