Ralph Fiennes is a passionate James Bond fan, especially when it comes to the characterization of his character, MI6 chief M.
The actor appeared on Josh Horowitz’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, via TheWrap, and revealed that the character arc of M in the Bond movies was initially intended to head in a very different direction.
Fiennes first took over the role of M in the “007” film franchise after Judi Dench’s M was killed in “Skyfall”.
“Sam Mendes, as we know, directed ‘Skyfall’ and the pitch was very attractive at the time,” Fiennes explained. “Judi Dench’s M dies and you’re set up as the next M, and I thought great. I also loved Daniel’s Bond and I just respected Sam’s intelligence and the approach to it and what he was doing with it. ‘Skyfall’ was a great script.”
But when time came around for discussion over Fiennes’ M and the arc that was planned for his character, there were some strong disagreements.
“I think I can say now that I had to fight off an attempt by Sam in ‘Spectre’ to make M — I said I don’t want to play M and then you turn around and make him the bad guy. M is never the bad guy,” said Fiennes. “So I had to have some pretty intense discussions with Sam saying, ‘This is not fine with me…’ It was like he was Blofeld or something, but that was a red line.”
Ralph Fiennes’ M in SPECTRE nearly was Blofeld(?!) and Ralph just wasn’t having it.
Full podcast chat with Ralph: https://t.co/T9Cz2xViM2
— Josh Horowitz (@joshuahorowitz) December 29, 2021
The character Ernst Stavro Blofeld is Bond’s arch nemesis in the “007” series and in the reboot, ultimately went to Christoph Waltz’s character in “Spectre”.
Part of the reason for Fiennes’ strong opposition was due to his respect for the book and film series as a longtime fan.
In fact, the actor was even up for the role of Bond at one point, in a discussion with 007 producer Barbara Broccoli.
“I’m not sure I’d have been very good at Bond,” Fiennes admitted. “I liked the books a lot when I was in my teens. I like the films, particularly the earlier Connery films. I had a teenage obsession with Bond so when that day came, of course I was flattered.”