In a recent interview, actor Jeffrey Wright discussed his return to play Felix Leiter in the upcoming James Bond film, “Spectre.” Wright’s first appearance as Felix was in 2006’s “Casino Royale,” and he has been absent from the franchise since.
Felix Leiter is a character that has been played by actor Jeffrey Wright in the James Bond film franchise since 2006. Wright talked about returning to play Felix after missing two movies.
Jeffrey Wright is enjoying a renaissance! Not only does the actor portray The Watcher in Disney+ and Marvel’s animated series What If…?, but he also plays Bernard in Westworld, which is a fan favorite. The actor has already appeared in two James Bond films, first as Felix Leiter in Casino Royale in 2006 and then again in Quantum of Solace in 2009. Wright, on the other hand, was absent from the previous two Daniel Craig-led Bond films, Skyfall and Spectre. Craig is back for his fifth and last Bond picture this week, and Wright is along for the journey. For the first time in almost 10 years, the actor talked with Uproxx about his comeback to the role.
“‘Hey, where’s Felix in all of this?’ I texted [producer] Barbara Broccoli every time each of the Bonds was about to go into production. ‘Felix is in this one,’ she’d say, reaching out. ‘Well, he’s not in this one,’ they say three weeks later. With these things, they sort of keep me on my toes. But, yes, hearing that he will be returning piqued my interest. And it seemed appropriate, if this is going to be Daniel’s last appearance, for Felix to return to the scene and complete off these chapters in the franchise’s history. So I’m glad that that’s how it turned out in the end. And I was able to bring my relationship’s circle full circle.”
During the interview, Wright also discussed past performers that portrayed Felix.
Wright said, “For me, Leiter is Jack Lord.” “Jack Lord in the first picture is one of my favorites. And I think that was the first, I believe it was Dr. If I’m not wrong, no. Right?” When questioned about Leiter’s desire for top billing with Sean Connery, Wright said, “And it was fantastic, right down to his strange feline eyewear, attitude, and whole connection with Sean Connery. He had a certain coldness about him. That, I believe, influenced how I approached this job when I accepted it. He had a coolness about him that matched Miles Davis, who at the time was the coolest cat on the planet. But, based on what I’ve heard, he was a complex character when the camera was turned off, so it makes sense.”
Wright went on to say, “Everyone has bad days. On-screen and off-screen, we all have terrible days in our job. But, hey, I’ve heard he’s a bit of a jerk, so that’s a possibility. But I really like what he accomplished with the character on film. When the job was given to me, I was ecstatic to accept it. In fact, when my agent said, ‘Hey, Barbara Broccoli contacted me,’ I was surprised. They’re planning a reboot of the Bond franchise, and they’re interested in casting you as a CIA agent or something. ‘They’ll give you the screenplay,’ says the narrator. ‘All right, cool,’ I say. I’m like, ‘CIA agent?’ when they receive the script. No. My name is Felix Leiter, and I’m here to help you out! This isn’t your average ghost. ‘Hello, my name is Felix Leiter!’”
When asked how he made Felix “cool” again, Wright said, “Well, I worked with Daniel.” “In the framework of what he was doing with Bond, I developed my persona. Bond, of course, exists outside of Leiter. So it was very much a case of, you know, there are sympathetic threads that go into making a character like this. So whatever the individual performs, he or she will have to do it with the other actor on the opposite side. So there you have it. I’m not sure. I’m not sure. What I’m actually worried about is getting this movie out there and getting people into cinemas after a year and a half, two years of not seeing it.”
On October 8th, No Time to Die will be released in cinemas.
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