When Christolph Waltz garnered rave reviews for his uniquely menacing performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, it almost seemed like it was just a matter of time until he’d be tangling with 007. The man just had a classic “Bond villain” feel to him, and so when it was announced that he be the antagonist to Daniel Craig’s Bond in Spectre many folks rejoiced. Many folks also started theorizing that he wasn’t just playing a Bond villain, but that he’s actually playing THE Bond villain: Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Naturally, when Waltz sat down with GQ to talk all things Spectre, the question came up. While we know what his character’s announced- or initial– name is (Franz Oberhauser) many folks think director Sam Mendes and co. are going to pull a Star Trek Into Darkness on us. If you’ll recall, leading up to STID, everyone was buzzing that Benedict Cumberbatch was going to be Khan in the film, despite having a very different announced name and constantly denying the rumors. Cumberbatch, of course, did turn out to be Khan.
Waltz, for his part, is still denying the theory. “That is absolutely untrue. That rumour started on the Internet, and the Internet is a pest. The name of my character is Franz Oberhauser,” he tells GQ.
So that’s that, for now at least. But the Austrian actor did have more to say about the project as a whole, and what drew him to it. When asked whether he hesitated at all in accepting the role in Spectre, Waltz answered candidly. “I did, yes. I always hesitate… You ask yourself, hang on: what James Bond are we talking about?,” Waltz says. “The thing about Spectre is that it is not the work of hack writers. It does not have a hack director. The actors are not hams. The action sequences in Mexico are extravagant to say the least. The scenes in Austria are traditional Bond action in the snow. These films with Daniel Craig have shifted the tone. They don’t depend on a set formula that forces actors simply to go through the motions.“
It also probably didn’t hurt that Spectre is set to follow-up the most successful Bond film of all time- Skyfall. Waltz sounds excited about the team he’s working with, many of whom worked on the last film, and with the quality of the production. GQ asked whether or not working on a Bond film could be artistically rewarding. “A James Bond film can be artistically fulfilling. Absolutely it can. It can be complex and it can be interesting,” the actor says. “I consider Bond movies to be an extension of popular theatre, a kind of modern mythology. You see the same sort of action in Punch and Judy, or in the folk theatre of various cultures, like Grand Guignol.”
Regardless of whether or not the man is playing Blofeld, there’s no denying that his casting in Spectre was a brilliant call. They snagged a two-time Academy Award winner who can play a convincing villain in his sleep, and I can’t wait to see him go toe-to-toe with Craig’s 007.
Spectre comes out on November 6.