Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play James Bond’s villain in a film scheduled to be released in 2014.
The British actor, 36 – who only got his break in feature films last year in Tinker Sailor Soldier Spy after his role in the BBC miniseries Sherlock – is expected to sign up for the next instalment of James Fleming’s franchise, which will see him star opposite current Bond, Daniel Craig.
Cumberbatch has moved quickly to become one of the UK’s biggest acting exports. He will portray Smaug the Dragon through voice and motion capture performance in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. He will also portray the antagonist in J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness, which is scheduled to be released in May 2013.
A source told the Daily Express newspaper: “Benedict is considered perfect Bond villain material. Work on the next film will begin next year and the plan is for Benedict to be on board. He grew up watching Bond, so it would be a childhood ambition fulfilled. Playing a Bond villain is one of the plum roles in film history and he’d jump at the chance.”
Skyfall, the 23rd Bond movie, is released next month while the next instalment in cinema’s longest running franchise is due out in 2014. There are also plans for another Bond film in 2016.
It emerged last week that Skyfall stars Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Wishaw all have options to reprise their roles in the next motion picture.