Update: Sorry folks, MTV reports that Ifans will not be in the film, straight from the actor himself.

It hasn’t even started shooting yet, but the next James Bond film, only known right now as Bond 23, may have the best cast out of any movie in the series. You (obviously) have Daniel Craig reprising his role as the iconic British spy, but we also learned that Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes have joined the project, with the former likely playing the villain. Naomie Harris is also playing Moneypenny, and all this casting ties into the reveal that we’ll be having more of an ensemble this time around, with this being “the first of a new generation of Bond films.” Additionally, director Sam Mendes‘ ideas are meant to “push the film into darker territory where the characters are modern, mature and challenging.”

Now, The Telegraph (via BleedingCool) has learned of another great addition to this ensemble, Greenberg and The Amazing Spider-Man actor Rhys Ifans. There aren’t any details on who he might play, but his involvement should get people excited in the first place; the guy is a terrific actor, and even the lesser movies he’s had parts in are often helped by his presence. He co-starred with Craig in the 2004 movie Enduring Love, which The Telegraph uses as an excuse to be unprofessional by focusing on the fact that they shared a kiss onscreen in it. Journalism, folks.

They’ve also learned that “much of” the movie’s production will be based in South Africa. What this means is really anybody’s guess, but it’s at least worth noting that locations were being scouted there back in April; I guess they like what they found. It hasn’t been confirmed that this will be the actual setting of the movie, but this is a series that takes advantage of its globe-spanning locations, so I don’t see them masking the shooting location for some other place. But, again, even if they use it — which I very much think they will — I can’t make a decent guess as to how it’ll tie into the plot. Their source also notes that Bardem is the villain here, but as the link provided above shows, that’s something we already knew.

Regardless, it’s all exciting news, and I truly can’t wait to see Craig back in the role of Bond, as I think he’s provided the best interpretation of Ian Fleming‘s character to date. Shooting will begin this fall, while the movie will open on November 9th, 2012.

How do you feel about the casting of Ifans, and in what context do you think the South African locations will be used? Are you excited for Bond 23?

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