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Why the cast of Bond 25 looks so familiar

In 1961, producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman bought the rights to film the spy novels of  novelist and former British naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming. One year later, Dr. No hit movie theaters and launched James Bond into the pop culture consciousness. After more than 50 years, the Bond franchise has left moviegoers shaken (not stirred) on its way to earning more than $7 billion at the box office worldwide.

The Bond films defined not only the spy thriller but have shaped action movies overall. The iconic characters, debonair costumes, breathtaking locales, incredible stunts, and high-tech gadgets have combined over the years to create a series of films that have earned their place among the great moments in cinematic history. And then there's the music. From the score to the award-worthy theme songs, there's no part of a Bond flick that doesn't have the chance to become iconic.

All of this has raised the bar for the latest entry in the series — the untitled project currently known as Bond 25. While there's plenty we still don't know about 007's latest adventure, we do know some of the actors who will share the screen in Daniel Craig's sixth (and reportedly final) turn as MI6's most accomplished agent. But just in case you haven't figured out why you know all these faces, we're to clue you in with all the reasons why the Bond 25 cast looks so familiar.

Rami Malek

If it weren't for the bad guys, James Bond wouldn't have had much to do for the past half-century. Over the years, 007 has battled Ernst Stavo Blofeld, Hugo Drax, Auric Goldfinger and many more. Now you can add one more name to the list… Rami Malek. Okay, we don't know his character's name yet, but we can at least put a face to the role.

If you haven't seen Rami Malek's face recently, you haven't really been paying attention. He took home the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Actor in 2019 after taking on the role of rock 'n' roll legend and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. But that wasn't his first awards rodeo: Malek spent four seasons playing hacker Elliot Alderson in the show Mr. Robot, a role that earned him a Primetime Emmy in 2016.

Before Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek found his way onto the big screen as the young deceased pharaoh Ahkmenrah in the Night at the Museum trilogy — a role that turned out to be crucial in the franchise's final film, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. In between those movies, Malek peppered in a few recurring roles on television series like The War at Home (as Kenny), the eighth season of 24 (as Marcos Al-Zacar) and the HBO miniseries The Pacific (as PFC Merriell "Snafu" Shelton). Bring on Bond!

Ana de Armas

What's a Bond film without a gorgeous femme fatale? Just as anticipated as the actor that will play James Bond's foe is the announcement of the actor that will be 007's latest love interest. Frequently, the role has gone to a performer who hasn't quite made a name for herself on the big screen — though Halle Berry's appearance in Die Another Day would be one of the exceptions to that unofficial rule. In that vein… welcome Ana de Armas to a club that includes Ursula Andress, Honor Blackman, Maud Adams, and many more.

The Cuban-born de Armas initially made her name acting in Spanish films but came to the attention of American audiences playing party girl Bell in the Eli Roth thriller Knock Knock, starring alongside Keanu Reeves. A year later, de Armas and Reeves would pair up again in Exposed. That began a string of increasingly bigger roles in American films like Robert De Niro's boxing feature Hands of Stone, the comedy/drama War Dogs with Jonah Hill and MIles Teller, and the action thriller Overdrive. However, the role that arguably has been her largest to date was the artificial intelligence unit (and love interest of Ryan Gosling's K) Joi in Blade Runner 2049.

Now that we know who's in the role, we wait to see if de Armas will be graced with a punny character name befitting the likes of Pussy Galore, Honey Ryder, Plenty O'Toole or Xenia Onatopp. The bar has been set high

Billy Magnussen

We're not exactly sure who Billy Magnussen will play in the latest James Bond adventure, but it's likely to be a feather in the cap of a career that has progressed well in just over a decade and could be the next step in an evolution that began with a slew of television appearances.

After picking up smaller roles in a handful of series, Magnussen's big break came when he took over the role of Casey Hughes on As the World Turns, replacing Zach Roerig; he played the role from 2008 until the series' final episode in 2010. Magnusson's big-screen highlights include 2014s Into the Woods, in which he played Rapunzel's prince. It's not his only turn as royalty: Magnussen took on the role of Prince Anders in the Disney live-action remake of Aladdin.

Other film credits for Magnussen include The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, and Game Night.  Nonetheless, Magnussen really has found his niche in television. Some of his more recent credits on the small screen include The Good Wife, American Crime Story, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Black Mirror. But with his upcoming role in Bond 25, could this be the opportunity that propels Magnussen into the mainstream for good?

Lea Seydoux

When Léa Seydoux makes her appearance in Bond 25, it won't be her first dance with 007. In SPECTRE, Seydoux played Dr. Madeleine Swann, the daughter of SPECTRE member Mr. White who eventually becomes an ally of James Bond. It appears that Dr. Swann's dalliances with Bond aren't finished, since Seydoux will once again take up the role in the latest film.

Beyond Bond, Seydoux is no stranger to spy flicks. In 2011, she stepped into another popular franchise of espionage movies when she joined the cast of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Perhaps it was preparing her for the Bond life: Seydoux's character, assassin Sabine Moreau, must have believed that diamonds were forever, since she paid herself in the precious gems after each job. Yet even that wasn't Seydoux's first big role that involved using deception to doom an enemy. She also played Charlotte LaPadite, a young girl who fled German soldiers and eventually led to Hitler's (fictional) demise in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds.

While Seydoux's appearance as Clotilde in The Grand Budapest Hotel didn't offer quite as much intrigue as some of her other American film roles, it did give her the chance to work with eventual SPECTRE (and Bond 25) co-star Ralph Fiennes. Apparently tomorrow really never dies.

Ralph Fiennes

With a career that has stretched across three decades and includes a pair of Oscar nominations, Ralph Fiennes is one of Hollywood's most recognizable faces and names. One of his earliest roles in a major American movie came in 1992, when he played notorious German SS officer Amon Goeth in Schindler's List, a performance which earned him a nomination for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Just a few years later, Fiennes would grab his second Oscar nom — this time for Best Actor — after playing the role of Count Ladislaus de Almásy in The English Patient.

Long before taking on the gig as M, the head of MI6 and James Bond's supervisor, Fiennes tried his hand at playing a British secret agent when he brought John Steed to the big screen in The Avengers. No, not those Avengers… the ones from the original 1960s British television show.

Fiennes also isn't a stranger to playing key roles in major movie franchises. The famed English actor put on some robes, lost his nose, picked up a wand and terrorized the living daylights out of the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry over the course of the Harry Potter series. Lest one think that Fiennes' characters stayed only on the dark side of the supernatural, well, you might be on to something. He played Hades, brother of Zeus and god of the underworld, in Clash of the Titans and its sequel, Wrath of the Titans. Perhaps he's just very good at playing bad.

Ben Whishaw

James Bond is cunning, debonair, handy in a fight, and probably an undercover master at parkour. But where would he be without his gadgets? In each Bond movie, a large part of the show is watching 007 pick up some of the secret spy tools that will help him escape his next scrape. And the man who creates these wonderful toys has forever been known only as Q (actually, he's Q, the Quartermaster of the MI6 Gadget Lab… but who's counting?). For years, the role of Q was played by Desmond Llewellyn, who appeared in 17 Bond movies beginning with From Russia With Love and ending with The World Is Not Enough.

Since Llewellyn's death in 1999, the role briefly went to John Cleese before Ben Whishaw put on the glasses and began tinkering with technology in 2012 for Skyfall. When Bond 25 hits theaters, Whishaw will be making his third appearance as the British inspector of gadgets — and even before MI6 came calling, Whishaw had a James Bond tie. In 2004, the young actor appeared alongside Daniel Craig in Layer Cake. In the movie, Whishaw played Sidney, the nephew of a low-level gangster trying to move stolen drugs. His role (or rather, roles) in Cloud Atlas wasn't nearly as simple. The time-traveling epic saw Whishaw take on characters as varied as a cabin boy, a store clerk, and a tribesman. Creating life-saving doodads for Her Majesty's top covert agent seems like child's play by comparison.

Lashana Lynch

Lashana Lynch has yet to become a household name for American moviegoers, but some of her recent and upcoming work could start to make her quite a bit more recognizable in the very near future. Speaking of households, Lynch's role in Bond 25 allowed her to have a homecoming of sorts. Parts of the new film are being shot in Jamaica, where 007 is living in retirement before being pulled back into duty. Although the young actress was born in London, she is of Jamaican descent and expressed excitement at being able to film on the Caribbean island, saying "It feels nice to coincide your heritage with your work at the same time."

In the meantime, it's Lynch's work that people are starting to feel nice about. While most of her credits have come in productions that launched on the opposite side of the Atlantic, American viewers have had a couple of chances to see her. Lynch was cast in the Shonda Rhimes-produced drama Still Star-Crossed, where she played Rosaline Capulet in a story that takes place after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Yet Lynch's most recognizable work to date came in 2019 when she took her place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Maria Rambeau, best friend of Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel. Perhaps saving the day will once again be Lynch's big-screen calling.

Naomie Harris

One of the weirder dynamics in the James Bond franchise was the continued flirtation between 007 and M's secretary, Miss Moneypenny. Not so much that the two characters had continued onscreen sexual tension — it was more that as time wore on, the interaction had a Dazed and Confused feel to it. In other words, Moneypenny got older but Bond stayed the same age. That changed in part when the original actress, Lois Maxwell, was recast after appearing in 1985's A View to a Kill. However, it was in Skyfall that Eve Moneypenny got a full reboot and a new face — Naomie Harris.

While Harris was a new face to the Bond franchise, by the time she made her first appearance in 2012, she was fairly familiar to many American audiences. That familiarity goes back to 2002, when Harris starred alongside Cillian Murphy in Danny Boyle's zombie thriller 28 Days Later. Harris found a larger audience a few years later when she made the first of two appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean series — appearing in both Dead Man's Chest and At World's End — even if she was somewhat unrecognizable in her makeup as the voodoo priestess Tia Dalma.

Not content to star just in big popcorn movies, Harris earned critical acclaim in Moonlight. The film not only won the Best Picture Oscar in 2017, but Harris herself was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as Paula. Apparently the world (of blockbusters) is not enough to keep Harris content professionally and creatively.

David Dencik

The name of David Dencik's character in Bond 25 hasn't officially been revealed yet, but a quick peek through his resume suggests that he's been building toward this opportunity for some time now.

After appearing in a slew of European films and television shows, Dencik introduced himself to American audiences in the 2011 big-screen adaptation of John LeCarre's espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as Toby Esterhase, a frequent character in LeCarre spy novels. While his next big role in an American film wasn't a spy story — the U.S. version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — it did give him the chance to appear in a film alongside Daniel Craig. It also completed a cinematic daily double for Dencik, who also appeared in the original Swedish version of the film, albeit as a different character.

More recently, Dencik landed on American television screens as Danish physicist Niels Bohr in the first season of National Geographic's docu-drama series Genius. We'll have to wait to see if he'll play a genius (of the good or evil variety) in Bond 25.

Jeffrey Wright

Bond movie fans will likely recognize Jeffrey Wright as 007 ally Felix Leiter from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. In Bond 25, it's Felix who coaxes Bond out of retirement and enlists his help to once again save the world. However, general fans of movies and television have long since recognized Wright as one of Hollywood's better character actors with a resume that stretches back to the late 1990s.

In one of his earliest starring roles, Wright played famed New York street artist Jean Michel Basquiat in Basquiat. The role earned Wright a nomination for Best Debut Performance at the 1997 Independent Spirit Awards. Yet his true breakout role came in the 2003 miniseries Angels in America. As Mr. Lies, the imaginary friend of Mary-Louise Parker's Harper Pitt, Wright won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a TV movie or miniseries as well as the Primetime Emmy for Supporting Actor in a miniseries or movie.

Wright has continued to shine on television, appearing as the calculating and treacherous Valentin Narcisse in Boardwalk Empire. Lately, he's found life on another HBO drama as the sympathetic android Bernard Lowe in Westworld. The role has garnered a pair of Primetime Emmy nominations (Outstanding Lead Actor in 2018 and Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2017).

But Wright is more than just indie productions and prestige television. The veteran actor played the role of Beetee in The Hunger Games trilogy. Audiences will wait to see if Wright's third appearance in the Bond franchise will be the last, or if he'll continue to help 007 on Her Majesty's secret service.

Rory Kinnear

Arguably one of the bigger unsung heroes in the Bond universe is Bill Tanner. As MI6's Chief of Staff, Tanner wasn't a regular in Ian Fleming's original novels and didn't appear in any of the Bond films until 1974's The Man with the Golden Gun. Since then, Tanner has made more consistent appearances in the series, being played by a quartet of actors. Rory Kinnear took over the role in Quantum of Solace and has appeared in every subsequent film in the series. When Tanner appears in Bond 25, it will mark his fourth outing in the franchise.

While much of his work has been on the British side of the Atlantic, American audiences will be able to recognize Kinnear from his appearance in The Imitation Game as Detective Robert Nock, the man charged with investigating whether Alan Turing was a Soviet spy during World War II. Nock has also had a large role in the Showtime series Penny Dreadful as "The Creature." That show has placed Kinnear alongside another former Bond — Timothy Dalton, who plays the explorer Malcolm Murray.