April 7, 2008 / 1:11 AM / in 10 years

New Bond villain gets subprime era twist

CERRO PARANAL, Chile (Reuters) - Gone are the days of James Bond villains with bleeding eyes or scars and fluffy cats -- the fictional super-spy’s latest adversary has been given a contemporary twist for the subprime era.

Mathieu Amalric, who plays nefarious businessman Dominic Greene in the new Bond adventure ‘Quantum of Solace’, will have no physical villain traits and says his evil character’s anonymity makes him all the more real -- and frightening.

“It’s so difficult to know who are the villains today. They look like wallpaper,” Amalric, one of Frances leading screen stars, said during an interview with Reuters on a remote desert mountainside in northern Chile that will serve in the movie as an eco-tourism hotel and his lair.

“Maybe they’re in banks, maybe they are the insurance companies, maybe they’re in labs, even in the subprime crisis,” he said.

The villain in the Bond film has always been almost as important as the world’s most famous fictional spy himself, and has often reflected fears of the day, whether of nuclear war, food stability or of concentrated power.

Amalric’s character is part of a sinister organization helping to restore a dictator to power in Bolivia in exchange for land rich in natural resources. The film is set in the context of global warming and growing water shortages.

“I was more thinking about something that had to do with the anonymous. With big companies, with hiding, with discretion,” he said in a soft French accent. “To be discrete, to be under the sand, a chameleon, more something like that.”

Most previous Bond villains have physical traits to distinguish them.

Dr. Julius No in the first film of the franchise in 1962 has a prosthesis. Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond’s nemesis in You Only Live Twice (1967) and five other films, had a facial scar and cat.

Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) had a third nipple. And Craig’s adversary in his first run as Bond in Casino Royale (2006), Le Chiffre, had a bleeding eye.

“I only have my face, I don’t have scars or an eye that bleeds or anything to help the villain,” said Amalric, who recently won France’s Cesar award for best actor.

Editing by Simon Gardner and Kieran Murray

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