LONDON (AP) — James Bond is back, in a new film with a retro title that evokes the series’ past. The next 007 adventure will be called “SPECTRE,” the dastardly fictional terrorist organization featured in “Dr. No” and other early Bond films.
Director Sam Mendes announced the name of the 24th official Bond movie Thursday at Pinewood Studios near London, along with the identity of several new cast members and a new version of Bond’s iconic Aston Martin car.
Academy Award-winning Austrian actor Christoph Waltz and wrestling star David Bautista are joining the cast, while Andrew Scott — master criminal Moriarty in BBC series “Sherlock” — will play an MI6 officer. Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux are the new “Bond girls,” Lucia Sciarra and Madeleine Swann.
Mendes, who directed the last Bond installment, “Skyfall,” said the movie would have “everything you would expect from a Bond movie,” with “a little more variety … maybe a little more mischief.”
“SPECTRE” will be Daniel Craig’s fourth film as the suave spy. Returning cast members include Ralph Fiennes as spy chief M, Ben Whishaw as gadget-master Q and Naomi Harris as secretary Miss Moneypenny.
Producers said the next film centers on “a cryptic message from Bond’s past (that) sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization.”
SPECTRE — Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion — was the terrorist organization headed by Ernst Blofeld that featured in several early Bond films.
Waltz, an Oscar winner for “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained,” said his character is called Oberhauser — but fans hope he is really Blofeld, one of the most enduring Bond villains.
The cat-stroking evildoer, played by actors including Donald Pleasence and Charles Gray, hasn’t appeared for several decades because of a legal dispute over rights to the character. The case was settled last year.
Mendes also revealed that Bond will drive an Aston Martin DB10, replacing the vintage DB5 that was spectacularly destroyed in “Skyfall.”
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.
Principal photography begins Monday. Filming will take place at Pinewood Studios and on location in Italy, Morocco, Mexico and Austria. “SPECTRE” is due for release late next year.
“Skyfall” was the most successful Bond film yet, taking more than $1.1 billion.
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