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Billy Magnussen Talks Being A Bond Villain In No Time To Die - Exclusive Interview

Every James Bond movie needs great henchmen, ones who can act as mini-bosses and maybe even get a small victory over 007. Most also have a foe who masquerades as a friend of Bond until it's too late. In "No Time To Die," those duties fell to Logan Ash, played by Billy Magnussen. Ash is, by all appearances, a colleague of Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright). This does not last, and put Ash in the exclusive club of people who got the upper hand over Bond at some point.

Looper spoke with Magnussen in anticipation of the movie's Blu-Ray release. He told us about his friendship with Jeffrey Wright, holding his own in a fight with Bond, and seeing the Cuba set for the first time. He also spoke about going for a color run with director Cary Joji Fukunaga and having a fight scene in a cramped environment.

Friendship with Jeffrey Wright

When you read the script, and you found out you were going to be the one who killed Felix, what was your response?

What was my response? I was like, "Hell yeah, dude!" I mean, just to be part of this franchise alone is massive, but then to have the opportunity to be such a chess piece in this film was so good. It was so, so exciting. I can only say I'm grateful to Cary and Broccoli and Michael, just for giving me this opportunity to be in the Bond world.

And I know you struck up a friendship with Jeffrey Wright.

Oh, yeah. I love Jeffrey.

I know I've seen elsewhere you said you had fun with him. You went surfing with him. Did all of this bonding happen before or after you killed Felix?

Actually, I got the fortunate opportunity to work with Jeffrey Wright on "Game Night." I did a film years ago. Yeah, so I got to meet him there. Very cool. Then to be cast in this, just to see your old buddy, you're like, ah, this is cool. Jeffrey is a talented actor, first of all, but also a great man. So it's easy to get along with people who are gracious and generous and open and warm and [someone] who enjoys rum and surfing and hanging out.

Daniel Craig and tight fight scenes

So let's talk about Daniel Craig for a second. The last time he did a [Bond] movie was "Spectre," and he was famously kind of grumpy on the press tour, basically saying, "This is my last time. I don't want to do this anymore." And then, like Bond, he got roped into one last mission. What was his demeanor like on set?

Welcoming, inviting, he was the commander of the ship. Coming into work with a veteran actor like that, he made the stage so welcoming and shared it so graciously. I have no complaints with him. I respect that man so much. Yeah.

And you got to get into a fight with him, and you basically — well, Logan Ash, I should say — really came out with the upper hand for a good chunk of it.

Thanks. I mean, to fight Bond is insane. Come on. It was such a crazy opportunity. The words can't describe, man, like what I went through. It's absolutely... While doing it, I didn't realize it. And looking back in hindsight, it's just like, damn, I got to fight Bond. Sorry.

And the fight was in kind of a small environment. Were there challenges that come with fighting in such a small environment?

That's the fun of it. There was this beautiful stunt team from France that choreographed the whole thing. And that's exactly what it is. It's choreography. It's a dance. And I have a little training in dance myself, and I love that because [of] the body movement and fighting, so the challenge of being in the confined space was what made it exciting, for me at least.

Stand out moments

What do you do in a Bond movie after your character gets killed off? I don't mean just in movie. Once your character gets killed off, do you just say goodbye and walk off set? Is there a procedure here?

No, because I think I had to shoot some more stuff still. So they don't do it in sequence. So, you're just playing each scene by scene and like what day they're going to shoot it. No, I wish it was like, I'm dead. Bye ...  No, it was just that you're allotted this amount of time to shoot a film, and you just fill out your contract, the time you're indebted.

I very much like the idea of, "Well, I'm killed forever! See you later!"

Yeah. Well, we never actually saw Logan Ash die, just pointing that out.

I also saw that you went for a color run with Cary during this time. How did you fit all of that in?

Sometimes you need to step away. Sometimes you just need to step away and take care of yourself and have a good time. Yeah. You're in London for so long and hanging out, working, you got to kind of, like, rinse the palette out every once in a while with color.

With color, I was about to say.


Okay, I think I got time for one more question, which is, were there any particular moments on set that really stand out to you besides the fight?

Particular moments that stand out? I remember walking onto the Cuba set, and they built Cuba in the middle of London and being like, wow, the talent of the art department is unbelievable that they just created a city block in this lot. It's those kind of moments you're like, how? How do they do that?

Okay, and that was such a great scene. I think that was my favorite scene in the movie, too.

I know. We all love Ana De Armas. Yes. She's fantastic.

"No Time To Die" is available to purchase on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on December 21st.