Producers of the next James Bond film unveiled its title, SPECTRE, and introduced new cast members at a press conference Thursday in southern England.
The British super-spy will once again be portrayed by Daniel Craig.
Joining him in the 24th Bond film will be new faces to the franchise, including Academy Award-winning Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, actor and WWE wrestler Dave Bautista, Italian actress and model Monica Bellucci and Irish actor Andrew Scott, perhaps best known for playing Jim Moriarty in the BBC series Sherlock.
Producers said the next film centres on "a cryptic message from Bond's past (that) sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization."
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SPECTRE — Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion — was the terrorist organization headed by Ernst Blofeld that featured in several early Bond films.
Among the returning cast members will be:
- Ralph Fiennes as spy chief M.
- Ben Whishaw as gadget-master Q.
- Naomi Harris as Miss Moneypenny.
Waltz said his character was called Oberhauser, but many fans will hope he is really playing Blofeld, one of the most enduring Bond villains.
Composer Thomas Newman will score the film, which will be written by John Logan, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, the same team behind the screenplay for the last Bond film, 2012's Skyfall.
007's new car revealed
Director Sam Mendes also introduced a "non-human cast member," Bond's new DB10 Aston Martin.
Initial fan reaction to the details was enthusiastic.
"For Bond fans, this is the best Christmas present — the return of James Bond and classic elements of the series with yet another classic title coined by Ian Fleming," said Ajay Chowdhury of the James Bond International Fan Club.
Producers are expecting a seven-month shooting schedule, with principal photography to begin Monday and filming on location in Morocco, Mexico and Austria.
Skyfall, which was also directed by Mendes, was the most successful Bond film yet, taking more than $1.1 billion US at the global box office.