Ben Whishaw is Playing a Young Q in Sam Mendes' 'Skyfall' Bond 23

November 25, 2011
Source: THR

Ben Whishaw / Q

"Must you touch everything?" Well this is odd casting, but we'll have to accept it. THR is reporting that Ben Whishaw (in Layer Cake, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Tempest, Cloud Atlas) will be playing a young agent Q in Sam Mendes' Bond 23, officially titled Skyfall, now shooting in England. Q is an iconic character from the original movies, played by one of my all-time favorite actors Desmond Llewelyn (seen right above), and hasn't appeared in the new Daniel Craig reboot yet. I didn't expect this kind of casting to be confirmed, but here we go. THR simply says that Whishaw is "reported to have been assigned the role."

Q (which stands for Quartermaster), like M, is a job title rather than a name. He is the head of Q Branch (or later the Q Division), the fictional research and development division of the MI6 British Secret Service. The character actually appears only fleetingly in Ian Fleming's novels, but he was a prominent character throughout the earlier Bond films, portrayed most often by Desmond Llewelyn, later by John Cleese. Q has appeared in 19 of 22 of EON Bond films; all except Live and Let Die, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

Ben Whishaw is a young British actor, only 31 years old, on the rise mostly in Europe working primarily with European directors so far. He's immensely talented and Perfume is one of my favorite films because of his performance in it. It's a bit odd that this Q will be younger than James Bond himself (Daniel Craig is 43), but then again maybe they're going to claim that Q is an interchangeable character just like 007 himself. Skyfall is being directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Away We Go), and also stars Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney among others. Production is currently underway, and Columbia Pictures has the film scheduled for release in the US on November 9th next year.

Find more posts: Casting, James Bond, Movie News



I hope the gadgets will at least be realistic like the ones in the current Batman film series.

Stacey Ellison on Nov 25, 2011


That's crazy, because my cousin and I were watching License to Kill last night and saw the old Q and we both were like, "I'm glad they didn't include Q's character in the new series!" And now, here it is. I'm trying my best to ignore the cheesy title of the film and it's exclusion of Quantum--but a younger Q is too much for my senses. lol

Big Boss on Nov 25, 2011


I completely agree with you and have had that exact thought as well. Plus, absolutely no one can come anywhere near Desmond Llewelyn as Q, which is why I hated John Cleese when he showed up. Whishaw is a great actor, but yea.

Alex Billington on Nov 25, 2011


Exactly. I swear we need to start an "Occupy Hollwood" movement sometime in the near future, man.

Big Boss on Nov 25, 2011


No, we don't.  Just sayin'....8-)

Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011


I hear you Alex, but...guess what, in the recent Jeffrey Deaver Bond novel CARTE BLANCHE, Q is...well, he's Indian (as in the country). Now, imagine if that made it to the films....just sayin'. But let's see how he works out, eh?  Granted, no one will replace Desmond Llewelyn (although he never appeared in DOCTOR NO....), but I'm curious to see how Whishaw carries the role.

Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011


He's 31, only slightly younger than me.  Think about it, if he's younger than you than decades from now he will be in Bond movies that most of us will not get to see since we will have died of old age.  Oh, and you can't see Bond from Heaven since things may go black.  Have you read the bible as an "adult?"  It reads like a fairytale and the bible reads like REPEATED stories that are similar to Egyptian mythology. Stephen W. Hawking who's considered to be the smarted man alive says there is no after life.  Considering how big the universe is we could all very well be simply natures evolution and nothing more.  Like the trees in the rain forest, they are there one day and the next they no longer exist.  I grew up on Bond and the thought of someone so young playing the new Q reminds us all that we will not be able to see all the new Bond movies decades from now.    

Legendgold on Nov 25, 2011


are you going to put this post on every movie news site?

Maverick Pete on Nov 25, 2011


Make it make sense, Sam...

Anonymous on Nov 25, 2011


in case you were wondering exactly why Desmond Llewelyn hadn't appeared in Bond since Brosnan, it's because he's been kaput since 1999.

Info on Nov 25, 2011


I think he will literally play a young Q, with the young M played by Helen Mcrory, and Ralph Fiennes as James Bond's dad or brother or something. And Bond finds out M had his dad killed. There will be scenes that go back in time.

kcran567 on Nov 25, 2011


Loved the Q car/submarine in The Spy Who Loved me.  It stands up to today's standards of awesome. 

Legendgold on Nov 25, 2011


Dammit! And here I was praying to God that they would have chosen Hugh Laurie as Q.

Syphous on Nov 26, 2011


While it is probably way off the tone of the new Bond films, everybody knows that John Cleese would've made the perfect Q. There is literally no one who could play that character better. But because he is John Cleese, I'm guessing that when they reached out, his people quoted a price minimum 20% above what Daniel Craig is being paid for the lead.

Lebowski on Nov 27, 2011


This is Bond circa 2012, not 1961.   The quintessential english boffin (elderly, quirky, somewhat odd) has been replaced by the modern geek, thus reflecting the era that it is filmed in.   Desmond Llewelyn's Q was almost comic relief, and the whole franchise parodied itself during Roger Moore's tenure as 007.   Tim Dalton tried to get some grittiness back into the role, but was undone by Remington Steele. The tech geeks these days are not the likes of Cleese.  I think it's a great move to keep the franchise modern, timely and relevant to an audience which would rather have gritty realism than cheesy comedy.

cinemabandit on Nov 28, 2011


Like I said, way off the tone of the current films. But still, he would crush that role.

Lebowski on Nov 28, 2011


Which makes a hell of a lot of sense.  You can certainly see it in the new Bond novel CARTE BLANCHE, in which Bond's best gadget is....a heavily modified iPhone from Q-Branch (the "iQPhone"). And I agree about Dalton--he played Bond exactly as how he was depicted in the books.  Craig has also done the same thing, which is why I like him as Bond even more than Brosnan.

Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011

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