Last week came news that Christoph Waltz was getting a lead role in next year’s untitled, 24th James Bond film and that it very well may be the role of the chief bad guy of the film. Now the Daily Mail (via Bleeding Cool), the folks who broke that story, are following up with a bit more detail.
Waltz’s involvement in the new film – which has the working title ‘Bond 24’ – will be confirmed at a press conference to be held in the first week of December. Eon productions, which owns the James Bond film franchise, 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.’
When the story first broke last week, there were a number of sites and fan discussion boards discussing the news and hoping that Waltz would be playing a new iteration of the iconic franchise villain, Ernst Stravo Blofeld. I have to wonder if the Mail‘s “Hollywood source” is playing off that discussion rather than letting slip any actual planned story secret.
Blofeld, the held of the criminal terrorist organization known as SPECTRE, has been a near constant, though at some times unseen, presence in the franchise since it’s second installment, 1963’s From Russia With Love. There and in his next “appearance” in 1965’s Thunderball, Blofeld’s face was never shown, though his voice was supplied by Eric Polhman. It wasn’t until Donald Pleasence took the role on for 1967’s You Only Live Twice that we got a good look at the evil mastermind. Other actors taking on the role include Telly Savalas in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Charles Gray in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and John Hollis in For Your Eyes Only (1981).
If the first description of Waltz’s character, that of the “son of the late Hans Oberhauser, a ski instructor who acted as a father figure to Bond” turns out to be true, than I have to express some mixed feelings. With the exception of 2012’s Skyfall, the franchise has never really delved into Bond’s past and there is plenty of fertile ground there to explore. But with Skyfall examining a fractured familial relation in the form the ersatz mother-son relationship between Judi Dench’s M and Javier Bardem’s Silva, I would hope that the franchise would find some other themes to explore before heading back into that territory again with this potential semi-brotherly relationship between Daniel Craig’s James Bond and the role Waltz will be playing.
The Bond producers will probably supply answers to our questions when they hold their start of production press conference in the first week of December.