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Mike Reyes

Paul Giamatti's Idea For Playing A Bond Villain Is Giving Roger Moore Era Energy, And I Really Hope The Producers Are Listening

Roger Moore smirking in Octopussy and Paul Giamatti smiling with menace in Shoot 'em Up, pictured side-by-side.

Paul Giamatti is a force of nature as an actor, as we’ve seen throughout performances like that of his central role in the 2023 movie release The Holdovers. When the man sets his mind to a role, it’s usually a good sign that he’s ready to bring the heat, and it's hard to argue with the results. So when Giamatti recently revealed his idea for playing a villain in the James Bond movies, it appealed to me as a fan of both the actor himself, that franchise and his proposed approach. I really hope the producers are listening to his big pitch, as the Roger Moore era energy could be something the series really needs in the near future.

(Image credit: Marvel / Sony)

What Would Be Paul Giamatti’s Ideal Bond Villain?

During GQ’s recent video interview with esteemed actor, he ran through his vast variety of roles from his impressive resume. There was even a fun story about how Mr. Giamatti’s dedication to Planet of the Apes saw him jokingly threaten to “fucking kill” his agents if he wasn’t allowed to play an Ape.

But just as the conversation was ending, Paul Giamatti was asked how he’d play a 007 heavy, as it’s apparently another goal of his. With that question lingering in the air, the Sideways actor had fun and dug in to provide these notes: 

I’d want an accent of some kind. I’d definitely want an accent. It’d be nice to have an animal with me of some kind. Not necessarily a cat, but something. … Not a parrot, or something. Something real. I dunno. An accent though, of some kind, I’d have to have. Furs would be good. A guy who’s all in fur coats, and stuff like that? It’d be great.

Reading the star's notes above has me recalling one role in particular that he reflected on in this same interview: The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Rhino. I honestly feel we were robbed by not seeing more Paul Giamatti goodness, especially since he wasn’t asked to return for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Bringing that to the table against whomever the next Commander Bond actor is feels perfect, especially when all of the hallmarks are there for a Moore era maniac. 

With such ingredients as exaggerated accent work, crazy wardrobe, and an urge to kill, that seems like the recipe for Mickey Rourke's Iron Man 2 adversary, Ivan "Whiplash" Vanko, as well as a villain from Roger Moore’s James Bond movies. That might be what we need in the future of the 007 franchise, as fans have been hinting at wanting some more cheek in this storied spy saga.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

Why Roger Moore Era Energy Could Be What The Next 007 Run Needs

Something I’ve seen in the wake of Daniel Craig’s 007 films is that some devotees are over the uber-serious nature it exuded. We’re almost 20 years past the moment that Casino Royale reinvented Bond as a tragic hero in the way of the laughable Die Another Day, and it seems like the pendulum is swinging back in favor of Sir Roger’s wryly humorous take. So why not lean into that notion, and with gusto?

The Daniel Craig movies gave us a modern take on how movies like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and more of the other grounded 007 stories would look today. So why wouldn’t fans want to see something like The Spy Who Loved Me or Moonraker adapted and improved for the here and now? 

The ability to cast an actor like Paul Giamatti to fully embrace that madness with his expertise seems like the icing on the cake, as we could get another Shoot ‘em Up style role out of the deal. And no matter what anyone thinks of that chaotic Clive Owen-starring caper, you can’t argue against Giamatti pulling some serious Bond villain vibes in that picture. Take a look at this brief moment from Shoot ‘em Up and see for yourself: 

If we’re heading to the second coming of Roger Moore’s James Bond, then it seems the world has the perfect villain to start it all off. While it’s tempting to take Paul Giamatti’s remarks as a call for a new, sillier Blofeld, I do hope that if the EON Productions brass are listening, they resist that call. 

The veteran performer's got a vision here, and the last thing anyone would want is to pigeon hole it into an existing figure. Also, could you imagine the grumbling that might occur if we were getting “Blofeld again?” No Bond villain ever wants to be spoken of in those sorts of tones. 

Sadly, we’re still playing in the realm of “what if” here, as there’s no clear direction for how, when, and where James Bond will return. That being said, if you want to see what Paul Giamatti has been up to, The Holdovers is currently streaming for those of you with a Peacock subscription. And if you listen closely, there is a 007 reference dropped in the first act by actor Dominic Sessa. Also, keep your eyes peeled on the 2024 movie schedule in case a Giamatti flick lands there.

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