When it comes to SPECTRE – the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion – there is a fine tradition of James Bond screen villainy to uphold, and Spectre picked two noteworthy individuals to represent its evil, tentacular reach: One soft-spoken and insidiously charming, and the other unspeaking but saying volumes with his mere presence.
At no small risk, we interrogated the film’s principal baddies during the Spectre press junket in London, recently.
Villain archetype: Evil genius
Played by: Two-time Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz
Known for: Saying Bond’s name at the most inopportune moment
The name Oberhauser is a nod to Ian Fleming’s Octopussy where a Hannes Oberhauser was credited with being Bond’s ski instructor and something of a father figure to the orphaned superspy-to-be.
Spectre expands on that, making Franz an actual family member who’s got a beef with Bond. Seeing how the Daniel Craig Bond movies seem to be retconning Bond continuity, what exactly is Franz’s standing in the evil organisation?
Let’s just say he will take James Bond into darkness.
1. What’s the key to playing a supreme villain like Franz Oberhauser?
Is there a key, is it that easy? No there isn’t, otherwise all you’d have to do is find the key, and if it fits the lock, click! And it would be kind of boring. And you’d be, “Where is it, I didn’t take it this morning, do you know where the key is …”
It’s a more interesting process, especially in the case of a Bond movie. There are pretty well-defined parameters for the villain (established over) 52 years. But restriction is not a bad thing, it is a good thing. Now you have smaller gaps to get through to find something new, but that doesn’t mean it is less interesting. “The bad guy versus James Bond” is “the bad guy versus James Bond”.
Bond is also pretty well defined, but look at what Daniel Craig did to James Bond, or what they did to James Bond with Daniel.
2. Franz is trying to control the world through (spoiler deleted) which we’ve seen in other films this year. Is there a trend?
The Bond villain always tries to control the world! If you look at the comics from the 1930s, 1940s, someone was always trying to control the world. Storytelling of this kind always works with extremes.
If you have a gangster trying to control the north half of Chicago, that’s not a Bond story. Bond is a beautiful, beautiful, precarious balance between superhero and human hero and the stakes need to be as high as possible,
3. Do you ever worry about not getting it right?
There’s a risk to play a villain – not just with villains. That you might kind of miss the target is always a possibility.
But if you do your job properly it’s an honourable thing to fail. If you don’t do it properly, if you are careless with what you’ve got to do, if you’re negligent, that is dishonourable.
Villain archetype: Enforcer
Played by: Six-time world heavyweight wrestling champion turned actor Dave Bautista
Known for: Eye really shouldn’t say
Having seen the film, we can only say that when Mr Hinx makes an entrance, he really leaves an impression. Several, in fact.
In Spectre, he pursues Bond relentlessly after their initial encounter, is pursued by Bond at one point, and then the two really get to mix it up in a colossal brawl on a train.
Hinx seems to be an enforcer for Spectre, but we seriously doubt he takes orders from anyone, even uber-baddie Franz Oberhauser.
1. Hinx is a man of few words. After you played Drax in Guardians Of The Galaxy, what challenges did the Bond job pose to you as an actor?
It’s always a challenge. A lot of people lose sight that I’m still pretty new at this, and I’m learning on the job. That’s at least what I’m going to get from every project that I’m involved in, that I’m going to walk away having learned something.
The trick with this (role), and it sounds easier than it actually is, is to say something without really saying anything. Without speaking. It’s all just gestures, simple gestures – the look in your eye, a grin, and all of that, honestly, was just directed from Sam (Mendes).
I did it a certain way, and he’d want it differently. Sam is just so meticulous, about everything … it’s like he’s not moving on from there until he has exactly what he wants.
Mr Hinx in general … he’s very happy-go-lucky, he doesn’t have a concern in the world. He doesn’t feel that anybody’s a threat to him. He feels he’s superior, intellectually and physically, and doesn’t follow any rules.
2. Your fight with Bond is one of the film’s highlights. How long did it take to film?
We had, I think, seven or eight days slotted for that. We shot some of it and then had to come back to it, so you could say about two weeks. There’s a lot of choreography in it.
We rehearsed and rehearsed – there so’s much room for error – so we went over and over it and we made sure no one got hurt.
3. How was Daniel Craig as a screen opponent?
Daniel Craig is a tough guy, people always look at him as an actor (but) one of the reasons I love Daniel as James Bond is because he looks like he’s been in a few fights, he’s just a rugged guy.
We came in to work out before we did our fight choreography and he’d be the first guy there. And he would really work at it, his trainer really put Daniel through the paces.
He’s not some prima donna getting pampered on set. He works out, he trains, he deserves to look the way he does. He works hard for it.
Spectre is now showing in cinemas nationwide.