Mathieu Amalric cast as villain in Bond 22 according to reports
Fox News claims that Mathieu Amalric, the probable Oscar nominee from Miramaxâs âThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly,â has been cast as the villain for the next James Bond film. That was the word Thursday at a lunch for âDiving Bell" director Julian Schnabel and Amalric. MI6 recently reported that in late October, dozens of actors were being tested for the role opposite Daniel Craig in Bond 22.
Roger Friedman for Fox News
Even though sources insist itâs true, Amalric would neither confirm nor deny. Since his âDiving Bellâ character communicates through blinking, I thought of asking him to do just that â one for yes, two for no â but thought better of it. Anyway, expect a formal announcement shortly. This is a done deal.
For the untitled Bond movieâs director Marc Forster, Amalric is a brilliant choice. Heâs a youthful looking 42-year-old overnight sensation, an independent French film director who only started seriously acting in films at age 30 and has suddenly been thrust into a hot career.
So what does he want to do? âI want to direct my next film,â he told me over lunch at Brasserie Ruhlmann in Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Of course, it was hard to finish a conversation with Mathieu (pronounced Matthew) because women, one after another, wanted to come over and âjust say hello.â Then, you know, they donât leave.
âItâs like a dream,â Almaric said to me between visitations.
So who is this guy? Mathieu Amalricâs got a very French father who lives in Corsica with his second wife, and a Polish-Jewish-French mother in Paris.
He looks a little bit like a young Roman Polanski, which makes sense because the mother comes from the same village as "The Pianist" director.
And even more ties: Polanskiâs beautiful wife, Emanuelle Seigner, plays Amalricâs ex in âDiving Bell.â (The film also features the sensational Marie-Josee Croze.)
He got the part of French Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby thanks to producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, who produced Steven Spielbergâs âMunich.â If you remember, Amalric was the breakout actor from that movie. He played the rich, young French arms dealer who worked with his father (Michael Lonsdale) from their chateau. When Schnabel was looking for an actor to play the part of Bauby, who was rendered paralyzed from a stroke but still managed to write a book, Kennedy and Marshall suggested Amalric.
Let me say this: if Mathieu Amalric isnât nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, then something is really wrong. His performance is nothing less that stunning, a miracle. He belongs in a group with John Cusack (âGrace Is Goneâ), Johnny Depp (âSweeney Toddâ), Philip Seymour Hoffman (âThe Savagesâ) and Daniel Day-Lewis (âThere Will Be Bloodâ). As Bauby he manages to take what could have been maudlin and makes it full of life.
Donât worry that heâs French. This is no Roberto Benigni. Even though âDiving Bellâ is told mostly in French, the actorâs English is just fine. He lived in Washington, D.C., from ages 5-8 because his father was a journalist on assignment. Mathieu is already in demand from the TV talk shows for interviews. And all this is a little strange for him.
âThe Oscars are a big deal?â he asked at lunch. âIt will help the film?â
He is not kidding.
âDiving Bell and the Butterflyâ is not a depressing movie, by the way. Itâs life affirming, and gorgeously crafted by director and famed artist Julian Schnabel.
Ronald Harwood, who won the Oscar for âThe Pianistâ and also wrote âBeing Juliaâ and âThe Dresser,â did the screenplay. They all deserve nominations. And if they donât get them, well, then, when Amalric is schooled in James Bond he can threaten to blow up the Academy.
Click here for full coverage of Bond 22 on MI6, including all the latest on the Bond Girl casting news, as well as exclusive pre-production diaries.
Thanks to `Pierce-Daniel` for the alert. Discuss this news here...