Sam Mendes Casts Javier Bardem and One of Daniel Craig’s Ex Flames for ‘Bond 23’

It’s been rumored for a while now that Javier Bardem would be playing the villain in the next installment of the James Bond franchise, but that production has been through so much turmoil that it was never a given. Recently, things seem to finally be more official. Director Sam Mendes is on board, things are moving forward, and the film has a solid release date of November 9, 2012. And perhaps because things are finally chugging along for real on the film, Mendes has decided to spill a little bit of info on the casting process while chatting up The Telegraph.

Perhaps the biggest news is that he confirmed that Bardem will indeed be in the film, and that he will most certainly be playing the bad guy. Bardem, of course, won an Oscar for his portrayal of iconic screen villain Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, so seeing him put on the villain’s cap in a franchise as big as Bond, and opposite a Bond as dynamic as Daniel Craig, should be a real treat.

The other casting announcement that Mendes let loose is that Rhys Ifans will also be joining the cast. He didn’t disclose what sort of role Ifans would be playing, but I don’t think that matters so much, as everything I’ve seen him do he has done exceptionally well. The Telegraph dropped a bit of trivia by pointing out the Ifans and Craig had already appeared together in the 2004 film Enduring Love, where they shared an onscreen kiss. Ifans said that while on set of that film, “I spent the whole shoot winding up Dan Craig saying, ‘Only four days to go now, Dan, darling, before our snogging scene.” Even now, after two Bonds, Dan still maintains that the hardest stunt he’s ever done was getting to grips with my mouth.” I guess now that they’ll be together on a project as high profile as Bond they’ll have to find a way to finally top it. Better loosen up those lips Mr. Craig, your new Bond girl is serious about his craft.

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