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Bond franchise's 25th film out next year

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RAMI MALEK has been officially unveiled as the villain in the upcoming James Bond movie. (Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com)

Oscar winner Rami Malek will play the international villain who Daniel Craig's James Bond must battle in the British spy franchise's 25th film set for release next year.

Malek, 37, who drew critical acclaim for his portrayal of Queen front man Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody last year, will play Bond's nemesis in the upcoming film, which goes by the working title Bond 25, producers said on Thursday.

"I promise you all I will be making sure that Mr Bond does not have an easy ride of it in this his 25th outing," Malek said in a recorded announcement from New York that was aired as part of a webcast about the new movie.

The still untitled movie will be Craig's fifth go-around as Britain's most famous fictional secret agent, and will feature on-location scenes in Jamaica, the producers said in the webcast from the Caribbean island.

The movie finds Bond out of active service and enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. That changes when his CIA friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) turns up asking for help. Their mission is to rescue a kidnapped scientist.

Actors who will reprise their roles alongside Craig in the 2015-released Spectre include Ralph Fiennes as M, Lea Seydoux as Madeleine, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Rory Kinnear as Tanner, the producers said.

Craig has said this will be his final turn in the tuxedo. When the 51-year-old actor first confirmed his return for Bond 25, he said: "I just want to go out on a high note."

But Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson said they aren't ready to contemplate a new 007 yet.

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British actor Daniel Craig poses for photographers before a press conference for the James Bond franchise movie "Spectre" in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Producers had already announced that the movie, set for release next April, will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga after Danny Boyle departed last year over creative differences.

Among the trademarks of Bond movies are their exotic locations, beginning with Jamaica when the franchise was launched with Dr No in 1962 and featuring the spy's introduction to a bikini-clad Ursula Andress on an empty beach.

Jamaica, where Bond was created by novelist Ian Fleming, will again be among the locales for the upcoming film, along with Italy, Norway and London, the producers said.

"We consider Jamaica Bond's spiritual home," said Barbara Broccoli, one of the film's producers.

The script is written by Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, along with regular Steven Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the British actress-writer of the series Killing Eve and Fleabag.

Waller-Bridge, whom producers said was brought on board by Craig, is just the second woman to ever write a Bond film. More than 50 years ago, Johanna Harwood co-wrote Dr No and received a story credit for From Russia With Love.

The Bond franchise, based on the novels about the British secret agent who outsmarts international villains, overcomes certain death and charms glamorous women, first hit screens during the Cold War with Sean Connery as Bond.

Connery's second appearance as Bond was in 1963 in From Russia With Love. He would go on to do five additional Bond movies.

Bond has also been played by Australian George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

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