Published On: Wed, Sep 15th, 2021

James Bond casting director reveals the unique challenges of casting Rami Malek

After nearly two years of delays, Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie No Time to Die is finally set to hit theaters on October 8, with casting director Debbie McWilliams opening up about her process.

McWilliams has served as the casting director on over 10 James Bond films starting with 1981’s For Your Eyes Only through No Time to Die.

She recently opened up about her three decades casting 007 movies in an interview  with Entertainment Weekly, where she revealed the ‘strange time’ casting Rami Malek.

Delays: After nearly two years of delays, Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie No Time to Die is finally set to hit theaters on October 8, with casting director Debbie McWilliams opening up about her process

Strange time: She recently opened up about her three decades casting 007 movies in an interview with Entertainment Weekly , where she revealed the 'strange time' casting Rami Malek

Strange time: She recently opened up about her three decades casting 007 movies in an interview with Entertainment Weekly , where she revealed the ‘strange time’ casting Rami Malek

Malek was coming off his first Best Actor Oscar win for playing Freddie Mercury in 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody, when he was being considered to play the villainous Lyutsifer Safin. 

Oddly enough, it seemed the problem wasn’t with the actor, but with his representation.

‘I had a very strange time trying to get Rami Malek into the room because, with all due respect to his agents, they didn’t really respond when I suggested that they might want to meet him,’ McWilliams said.

Safin: Malek was coming off his first Best Actor Oscar win for playing Freddie Mercury in 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody, when he was being considered to play the villainous Lyutsifer Safin

Safin: Malek was coming off his first Best Actor Oscar win for playing Freddie Mercury in 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody, when he was being considered to play the villainous Lyutsifer Safin

Strange time: 'I had a very strange time trying to get Rami Malek into the room because, with all due respect to his agents, they didn't really respond when I suggested that they might want to meet him,' McWilliams said

Strange time: ‘I had a very strange time trying to get Rami Malek into the room because, with all due respect to his agents, they didn’t really respond when I suggested that they might want to meet him,’ McWilliams said

She added that, ‘every single person on a Bond film pretty much has to come in and be met by everybody first,’ adding, ‘you don’t just get the contract through the post.’

Fortunately for the film, McWilliams revealed she luckily ran into Malek himself, which got the casting process moving much quicker. 

‘I again just happened to be in the right place in the right time, I went to a screening of Bohemian Rhapsody that he was at,’ McWilliams said.

Luck: Fortunately for the film, McWilliams revealed she luckily ran into Malek himself, which got the casting process moving much quicker

Luck: Fortunately for the film, McWilliams revealed she luckily ran into Malek himself, which got the casting process moving much quicker

She added they were, ‘invited afterwards for a drink so I marched up to him and said, “Have you had any call from your agent about a James Bond film?”‘

When Malek told her, ‘No,’ she said, ‘Well we’ve been trying to meet you for quite a long time.’ 

‘Within a second he was on the phone and the very next day he was in the office and that was that,’ the casting director said with a laugh.

Agent: She added they were, 'invited afterwards for a drink so I marched up to him and said, "Have you had any call from your agent about a James Bond film?"'

Agent: She added they were, ‘invited afterwards for a drink so I marched up to him and said, “Have you had any call from your agent about a James Bond film?”‘

Next day: 'Within a second he was on the phone and the very next day he was in the office and that was that,' the casting director said with a laugh

Next day: ‘Within a second he was on the phone and the very next day he was in the office and that was that,’ the casting director said with a laugh

‘I’ve learned to be quite bold. If you want something you go and get it,’ she added.

Malek stars alongside Daniel Craig in his final turn as 007, Ana de Armas, Lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Wright. 

No Time to Die is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga from a script he co-wrote with James Bond writing mainstays Neil Purvis and Robert Wade. 

Rami and director: No Time to Die is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (right) from a script he co-wrote with James Bond writing mainstays Neil Purvis and Robert Wade.

Rami and director: No Time to Die is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (right) from a script he co-wrote with James Bond writing mainstays Neil Purvis and Robert Wade.

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