First things first: yes, this comes from the Daily Mail. "But Phil," you say, "the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye has been pretty much correct with all his Bond scoops!" True enough, but this piece does not come from Baz, which, like, doubles down just how sketchy it is. But man, it sure sounds like it could be true. Or maybe I just want it to be true. I can’t tell anymore!
Anyway, someone who is not Baz Bamigboye at the Daily Mail is saying that two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz is not only playing a villain in Bond 24 - he’s playing THE villain of the franchise. That’s right: Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Sayeth the Mail (barest of spoilers* if true):
Eon Productions...will announce the star is playing an unknown character called Franz Oberhauser, son of the late Hans Oberhauser, a ski instructor who acted as a father figure to Bond...But senior sources believe the casting is a double bluff worthy of 007 himself and that Waltz is actually playing Blofeld. One Hollywood source, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Christoph Waltz is playing Blofeld in the next Bond film. The tone of the 007 films has changed significantly in recent years and the producers have changed the character to fit in with the new-look 007.’
This development stems from last year’s court decision which restored to Eon the rights to the iconic character, gummed up for decades in the messy Thunderball/Kevin McClory situation. The Blofeld archetype has been parodied into oblivion in everything from Austin Powers to Inspector Gadget so, header image be damned, don’t expect a bald Waltz to show up in Bond 24 wearing a Nehru suit stroking a white cat. The last three Bond films have gone back to the novels in interesting and unexpected ways. We need only look to Ian Fleming’s books to see that Blofeld not only never looked the way he does in the films, but his appearance was actually drastically different from one book to the next. In Thunderball he’s 280 pounds, with a black crew cut. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he’s 100 pounds lighter, with long silver hair and a syphilitic nose (Waltz could totally pull off this look, IMO). In You Only Live Twice, he’s rocking a gold tooth and a drooping mustache while wearing a kimono. (Okay, I’m changing my vote from one sentence ago about Waltz having the long hair and syphilis nose.)
If true, this is exciting news. Daniel Craig has earned his place in Bond history, and his 007 needs to have some saving-the-world level fun before he hangs it up. That’s not to say Bond 24 should or will descend into cartoonishness. But I go to the movies to see what people with greater imaginations than me - or you - have up their sleeves, so I won't throw in with a peanut gallery who can only imagine bald actors playing Lex Luthor. I don't know what a Blofeld in the current films would be like, but I for one can’t wait to see the character re-imagined for the 21st Century.
*Did we learn nothing from Star Trek Into Darkness? Don't play these games; let us get excited.