Oscar winner Rami Malek in talks to play the villain in James Bond 25

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He has a license to kill, and he’s headed back to the big screen in 2020.

World-famous secret agent James Bond will return for the 25th installment of the celebrated spy franchise, with Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) directing the film and Daniel Craig set to reprise the role of Agent 007 in what might be his final performance as the iconic character. The latest update on the April 2020 film reveals who Craig might be facing off against in the still-untitled project, with Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek reportedly in talks to play the film’s villain.

According to Collider, Malek is in the midst of final negotiations for the role, which is rumored to be a blind character of North African origins. Talks between Malek and the studio had been put on hold while the actor sorted out his filming schedule for the final season of Mr. Robot and dealt with the Academy Award push for his award-winning performance in Bohemian Rhapsody.

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The casting of Malek (pictured) follows a lengthy and tumultuous development period for the next installment of the franchise.

Fukunaga joined the project following the departure of Danny Boyle and a reportedly intense search for a new filmmaker to helm the project, which was initially scheduled to premiere in November 2019. Boyle was initially set to direct and co-write with his Trainspotting collaborator John Hodge.

In late August, the first set of filmmakers rumored to be contenders included Baby Driver and Shaun of the Dead filmmaker Edgar Wright, Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallee (per a report in Deadline),  Hell or High Water director David Mackenzie, and White Boy Rick director Yann Demange. Both Mackenzie and Demange were on the earlier list of potential directors before Boyle was attached to the film. American Animals director Bart Layton and Star Trek 4 director S.J. Clarkson were also identified as potential directors.

James Bond franchise producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced Fukunaga’s attachment in September 2018 along with star Daniel Craig, and indicated that production on Bond 25 (the film’s working title) will begin March 4, 2019.

“We are delighted to be working with Cary. His versatility and innovation make him an excellent choice for our next James Bond adventure,” said the producers in a statement accompanying the announcement.

Fukunaga comes to the James Bond franchise with a short but impressive list of directing credits, including the first season of True Detective, which won him a Primetime Emmy Award. Most recently, he directed the upcoming Netflix miniseries Maniac starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. Highlights from his major studio feature work so far include 2009’s Sin Nombre, 2011’s Jane Eyre, and the critically acclaimed 2015 feature Beasts of No Nation, which won star Idris Elba a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award nomination.

The untitled 25th installment of the James Bond franchise is scheduled to hit theaters April 8, 2020.

Updated on February 28, 2019: Added casting news for Rami Malek.

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