Christoph Waltz Latest in Long Line of Germanic Bond Characters

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Christoph Waltz

The two-time Oscar winner will play Oberhauser in new Bond film 'Spectre'

For the 24th Bond film, director Sam Mendes appears to have returned to the franchise's proud tradition of Germanic characters.

Christoph Waltz, an Austrian-born actor who holds both Austrian and German citizenship, will play Oberhauser in Spectre, the latest entry in the 007 franchise, which hits theaters next fall.

Mendes and the film's producers haven't revealed much about the plot of the new film, so it is unclear if Waltz will play a baddie or a hero in the new 007 film. In the Ian Flemming novels, there is a character named Hans Oberhauser who is described as Bond's skiing instructor and surrogate father. Waltz' character, whose is rumored to be Hans' son, a figure not mentioned in the books, may be an ally to Daniel Craig's Bond in the new film.

However, there has been widespread media speculation that this is an attempt by the filmmakers to throw fans off the scent and that Waltz will actually play Blofeld, the legendary bald, wheelchair-bound, white-cat-petting Bond villain and the founder of (fictional) terrorist organization SPECTRE. The fact that the 24th Bond film is titled Spectre suggests Blofeld will make an appearance and Waltz would seem ideally suited for the role. 

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Germanic actors have left their mark on Bond, both figuratively and literally, throughout the years.

Probably the most iconic Bond baddie, Goldfinger, was given his devilish charm in the 1964 film by German actor Gert Frobe. Austrian Curt Jurgens troubled Roger Moore's Bond as the underwater patriarch Karl Stromberg in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me.

Other iconic Bond villains have been portrayed by Klaus Maria Brandauer, another Austrian, in Never Say Never Again (1983) and Germany's Gottfried John as General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov in GoldenEye (1995).

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There is also a long history of German actors playing Bond henchmen, including Andreas Wisniewski as the deadly milkman Necros in The Living Daylights (1987), Gotz Otto as the bleach-blond Stamper in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and Ilse Steppart as "angel of death" Irma Blunt, the woman who executes Bond's wife in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).

But while playing a Bond baddie has launched the career of many an international actor, Waltz is unusual in coming to the franchise as an established global star and two-time Oscar winner.

Waltz's career certainly doesn't need any help from 007. The 58-year-old actor has a supporting role in Sean Anders' Horrible Bosses 2 and stars, alongside Amy Adams, in Tim Burton's Big Eyes, which bows Christmas Day in the U.S.. Waltz is also currently in production on David Yates' live-action Tarzan, where he plays Captain Rom.

Twitter: @sroxborough

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