Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek refused to speculate on whether or not Safin, the character he plays in the new James Bond movie No Time to Die, is a modern-day version of the titular villain of Dr. No.

“I’m not going to bite on that," he told GQ. "But I do think it’s interesting. They’ll just have to wait and see.” Malek similarly refused to divulge any of the other plot details that have been bandied about online: “Let the rumors fly, because no matter what you expect from this movie, you will be shocked when you watch the film. I will not add any fuel to that fire.”

In the 1962movie, Dr. Julius No (played by Joseph Wiseman) is a scientist of German and Chinese ancestry whose experiments with radiation caused his hands to be replaced with metal prosthetics. Working for SPECTRE, the global crime organization at the heart of the early Bond movies, Dr. No concocts a plot to disrupt a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., from his base in Crab Key, Jamaica. This, he believes, will provoke a war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, but Bond thwarts the plan and kills the scientist.

The idea that Safin is Dr. No stems from the rebooting of James Bond under Daniel Craig that began with 2006's Casino Royale. That film saw a return to the franchise's earliest days, relying more on hard-edged realism than the gadgets, self-deprecating humor and confusing plots that plagued later outings. A new take on the most famous Bond villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in 2015's Spectre has led many to wonder what other elements from older 007 movies will show up in No Time to Die.

Meet Safin in 'No Time to Die'

Malek worked closely with the filmmakers to create Safin. "We really did sit down and think about what would truly frighten us, what would send a real panic into our hearts,” he said. “It’s that sense of dread that sets it apart.” He also noted that he’s “played some transformative characters” in his career, and he hopes they “all speak for themselves ... maybe some louder than others. Safin will speak loudly, I hope.”

Malek reported that he didn’t even consider refusing the role when it was offered. “It’s a 007 film, man - they’re a part of our cinematic history,” he said. “An opportunity to go toe-to-toe, head-to-head with Daniel and give them all I got? That’s something I’ll look back on as as big as it gets.”

Craig himself complemented Malek on his work, saying, “He understands he’s playing a Bond villain – what that means, what it means historically and the kind of Bond villains that have come before. Rami’s really good at his job. I mean, that’s an understatement.” No Time to Die, which will be Craig's last turn as James Bond, is currently scheduled for an April 2021 release.

 

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