Mark Strong insists there is no truth to reports that he will play the villain in the upcoming 24th James Bond movie.
Photographs posted to Twitter this time last month, showing Strong and Daniel Craig together in Morocco, sparked rumours that Strong - an actor noted for his string of notable bad guy roles - might be set for a big screen reunion with his ‘Our Friends in the North’ co-star.
As Bond 24 is reportedly set to shoot in Morocco, there was heavy speculation that Strong could be out there with Craig in an official capacity. However, Strong tells WENN the explanation is far simpler.
Strong explains, “Daniel is a very good friend of mine. We’ve known each other for years and he’s a godfather to my eldest child.
"The reason these rumours came about is because recently we went on a walking tour together in the Atlas Mountains. We took some time off to have some friend time; we hadn’t seen each other for ages. Busy schedules mean you can’t see each other and don’t see your mates for a long time. And we went walking together.
"Someone took a picture and everybody’s come to the conclusion I must be the new bad guy in the new Bond movie!”
Strong goes on to note this is hardly the first spy property he’s been linked to.
"For some reason I played bad guys for a while, for a few years. I don’t quite know what’s happened but now it’s spies!
"I was a spy in ‘Body of Lies,’ a film I did with Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio; he was the head of the Jordanian secret service. In ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ I was a spy. In ‘The Imitation Game,’ that’s coming out with Benedict Cumberbatch, I’m a spy.
“‘Secret Service’ that I’m doing with Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Firth, I’m another spy. I mean, it’s unbelievable. I don’t know quite what’s happening but there’s a whole spy thing going on.”
I’m sure Bond fans can be forgiven for getting a little overzealous at the idea of Strong playing a Bond villain. He is one of the best bad guy actors of our time - and viewers who recall him sharing the screen with Craig back in the 1996 BBC drama ‘Our Friends in the North’ (which also starred future ‘Doctor Who’ actor Christopher Eccleston) would no doubt relish seeing the two working together again.
On top of which, Strong has publicly expressed interest in playing a Bond villain before – and is said to have been a possible contender for the role of Silva in ‘Skyfall’ before Javier Bardem was cast.
Earlier this year Strong told the Big Issue, “I have a fascination for villains because they are way more complicated than heroes, so they are much more interesting to play…
“The Bond villain would be the absolute pinnacle. They are almost as important as Bond himself because your hero is only as good as your villain so you have to have a good one for the hero to be truly heroic.
"I’m not ruling it out. We’ll just wait and see.”
So who knows - perhaps we might yet see Strong do battle with 007. It just won’t be in Bond 24.
In the meantime, Strong has yet another secret agent role in the offing, as he’s currently shooting spy spoof ‘Grimsby’ with Sacha Baron Cohen.
Picture Credit: WENN, Twitter, BBC