Fresh off an Oscar nomination for “12 Years a Slave,” Chiwetel Ejiofor is the frontrunner to play the villain opposite Daniel Craig in the next James Bond movie, multiple individuals familiar with the project have told TheWrap.
Sony, MGM and Ejiofor’s reps at CAA all declined comment.
Sam Mendes is directing the as-yet-untitled “Bond 24,” which was written by “Skyfall” scribe John Logan.
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Craig will return to don the tuxedo, while Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw are set to reprise their roles as his boss M, ally Moneypenny and gadget guru Q, respectively.
While Ejiofor does not have an official offer yet and is not in formal talks, he is being eyed for the coveted role and is widely presumed to be the frontrunner amongst the other actors under consideration.
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Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson are producing the movie, which is expected to be in production from November through April 2015.
The filmmakers will soon begin casting 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.
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Mendes’ last James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” grossed more than $1.1 billion worldwide.
Ejiofor recently wrapped “Z for Zachariah” and will soon begin filming John Hillcoat’s star-studded thriller “Triple Nine.”
He’s repped by CAA, Markham, Froggatt and Irwin and attorney Robert S. Wallerstein.