English actor Ben Whishaw is confirmed to be playing 'Q' in "Skyfall", the youngest actor to take on the part...

Ben Whishaw Is Q

25th November 2011

English actor Ben Whishaw will play 'Q' in the new James Bond film "Skyfall", his agent confirmed today. He was first rumoured to be joining the cast back in April this year, and director Sam Mendes announced his casting at the "Skyfall" press conference earlier this month but would not comment on his role.

Above: Ben Whishaw in the BBC period drama "The Hour". His character was a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels.


Whishaw will be re-introducing the character to the series, after his absence since the 2006 reboot with "Casino Royale".

The role was first played by Peter Burton as 'Quartermaster' in the debut film, "Dr No" (1962) at the age of 41. When Burton was unavailable for "From Russia With Love", Welsh actor Desmond Llewelyn (then 48) took over and continued in the part for record 17 films, only missing "Live And Let Die" (1973) until his final outing "The World Is Not Enough" in 1999. Llewelyn died in a car accident shortly after the film's release at the age of 85.

Although Llewelyn's character was named Major Geoffrey Boothroyd (from the Ian Fleming novels), the title of 'Q' was passed on to his assistant played by John Cleese (age 63) in the 2002 outing "Die Another Day". Given Whishaw's is only 31, it is unlikely that his 'Q' will be a Major, so this will be a new character, much like when a new actor takes on 'M'.

With today's fast-paced digital technology, it is perhaps more realistic to have a younger person in the fictional role of 'Q', as MI6 would be creating stealthy smartphone apps and concealed communication devices rather than hiding tear gas canisters in attache cases.

There are a couple of interesting connections to Whishaw joining the Bond franchise. Most recently, Whishaw starred in the BBC's period drama "The Hour", where his journalist character Freddie Lyon is a fan of Ian Fleming's novels and makes frequent references to Bond, including calling his female colleague Miss Moneypenny. Back in 2004, he starred in "Layer Cake', the film that brought Daniel Craig to the top of the producer's wish list for the next 007. The film ends with his character, Sidney, shooting XXXX (Craig).

Whishaw's other credits in recent years include the Rolling Stones biopic "Stoned" (2005), Bob Dylan flick "I'm Not There" (2007), "The International" (2009) with Clive Owen, and "The Tempest" (2010) with Dame Helen Mirren. As well as "Skyfall", Whishaw is currently filming "Cloud Atlas" to Tom Hanks. He will be next seen in the TV movie adaptation of Shakespeare's "Richard II" where he plays the title role.