Just who will play the Māori henchman in the new James Bond movie, Bond 25, is the hot topic for actors and their agents in New Zealand at the moment.
Spy understands the movie’s director, Danny Boyle of Trainspotting fame, will be selecting the actor personally. But initial casting calls have not officially gone out, nor has the embargoed script.
The Māori supporting role is for a male aged between 35 and 55, with advanced physical, fighting and stage combat skills.
The characteristics require him to be “authoritative, cunning, ruthless and loyal”. It is also understood Boyle is not necessarily looking for a marquee name, and New Zealand and Australia are both being combed for talent.
Industry insiders are ruling out two of New Zealand’s most well known leading men, citing Temuera Morrison as two years too old and Cliff Curtis as unlikely to be available, given his commitments for the filming of the new Avatar movie.
We hear Shortland Street actor Ben Mitchell and Westside’s Xavier Horan have already sent out video auditions. Both have extensive martial arts training; Horan most recently for his role last year in thriller 6 Days. Spy believes both are more than capable of kick-boxing a martini out of Bond’s hands.
The most obvious name in the mix is Manu Bennett, who has the stunt experience — most recently from his role as Slade on US TV series Arrow. Bennett tells Spy it is too early for him to comment.
Human Traces actor Vinnie Bennett, Westside’s Pana Hema Taylor and Meg star Rob Kipa-Williams are also in the NZ Top 7.
The name Spy has heard bandied around the most is former Outrageous Fortune star Kirk Torrance.
Bond 25 starts filming in December.