Clutched, as we are, in the throes of late capitalism, it seems like movie promotion has become as kooky and exhausting as actually filming the movie. The campaign surrounding the latest entry in the James Bond cinematic franchise is a perfect example of this phenomenon. News broke today that its villain will be played by recent Academy Award winner Rami Malek, who, at least in the video he just put out into the world, seems to be sticking to his streak of coming off as one of the weirdest people in Hollywood.
For context, almost the entire cast of the new Bond film recently attended a photo call in Montego Bay, Jamaica, to promote the movie. This event took place at “Goldeneye,” which is the name of the opulent estate of Ian Fleming, the author of the Bond novels. Malek couldn’t go.
“Yeah, I’m stuck here in New York, in production… but I’m very much looking forward to joining the whole cast and crew very soon, and I promise you all, I will be making sure Mr. Bond does not have an easy round of it in this, his 25th outing,” the actor intones flatly. It’s very unsettling.
Look, Malek is a talented guy who’s most likely very nice and accommodating, but he’s got one of those personalities that just doesn’t quite mesh with whatever setting he happens to be in. He’s not a “guy’s guy” or a “ladies’ man”—and he shouldn’t have to be either of those things. Instead, he’s more of an ephemeral mist of a human being, drifting eerily through his surroundings making eye contact that’s just a little too intense. As a celebrity, he’s rather hard to pin down.
Malek’s most ardent fans have discovered this in the past when one brave soul tried to take a video with him. “Can you say hi to my friend?” the fan asked. “Nope, but we can take a picture,” Malek responded.
There’s a ton riding on the 25th installment of the Bond series, and as such, it has undergone an extremely turbulent game of creative magical chairs, as the director, the cast and the script have all been rearranged or called into question. The good news is that the as-yet-untitled British spy film is being directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the extremely attractive (sorry, it’s true) visionary behind True Detective, and the script is being co-written by the well-equipped Fleabag auteur Phoebe Waller-Bridge, per the request of star Daniel Craig.
On that note, it’s definitely worth pointing out that if Malek harnesses his weirdness, he will likely make a great Bond villain—just think of some of 007’s more off-kilter nemeses in the past (Jaws, anyone?). Plus, a franchise as huge as this one could certainly use some of his itchy energy to spice things up. Hulking bodyguards get old fast.