Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Oscar-nominated performance in 12 Years a Slave earned him quite a bit of attention, but he’s about to get even more of a spotlight if his next deal goes through. Ejiofor is reported as being the frontrunner for the villainous role in Sam Mendes’ Skyfall follow-up; Mendes will direct the untitled 24th and 25th installments of the James Bond franchise. While no official offer has been extended and the parties in question are not in formal talks, Ejiofor is considered the man to beat by other actors vying for the role.
The Wrap reports that Ejiofor is the top choice for the villain of Bond 24. He would follow in the footsteps of Javier Bardem, who is only the most recent in a long line of iconic characters. Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw all return as James Bond, M, Moneypenny, and Q, respectively. With the principal cast set on the heroic side, and the coveted role of the Bond villain likely going to Ejiofor (if scheduling and such can be worked out), the filmmakers will next turn to casting the other iconic roles: namely, the Bond Girls. They’re looking to fill two key female roles, including “a new Bond girl and a Scandinavian with a troubled past who will serve as a brief love interest for Bond.”
Skyfall screenwriter John Logan has penned the script for the follow-up. Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson are set as the movie’s producers. Bond 24 is expected to be in production from November through April 2015.