ethereal british prince: "Q's slicker this time"

Bungling, middle-aged and surrounded by explosive stationery; this is the traditional description for Q. So, how has 31-year-old Ben Whishaw managed to reinvent him as a slick computer whizz packing little more than a laptop?

Were the Bond films a big part of your childhood?

I saw some of the Pierce Brosnan ones as a teenager, but I don’t remember watching them as a child. It’s been fun going back and watching them. I really like From Russia With Love – it’s very charming.

Your role in the film was undisclosed for a long time. How difficult was it keeping it secret?

Pretty difficult because I had to tell my brother [laughs].

Is he a major Bond nut?

No more so than everyone else. Even people who don’t go to the cinema get excited about a new Bond [film]. But I had to tell him. He didn’t believe me at first [laughs]. You have to sign a confidentiality agreement which, if you broke, your life would not be worth living.

Did you have to audition for the role?

No, Sam [Mendes] just offered it to me out of the blue. It was incredibly exciting.

How did he describe the character to you?

He said this Q was going to be a computer genius. It makes sense for the [film’s] story because the ‘enemy’ operates in cyberspace. There’s a new world order.

Did you hang out with hackers in preparation?

No, there was none of that. I did learn how to touch-type [laughs]. And I read stuff.

What kind of stuff?

I read about MI6, mainly. For my own interest more than anything. I’m fascinated by the people who work in that field and the double life they have to lead. And I was interested in the brutality and ruthlessness of [the agents] on one hand and the suave way they present themselves on the other.

Did you study Desmond Llewelyn and John Cleese’s versions of Q?

I deliberately didn’t do that. What I did do was watch all the early [Bond films] that Q isn’t in. It felt like a chance for a fresh start so I didn’t want to be bogged down in [previous Q performances]. It was the same for Sam; Bond’s been going for 50 years so there’s a formula and template. You have to deliver certain things with a Bond film, but you want to innovate and surprise people too.

Q is traditionally a bit of a bungler – constantly blowing things up by accident. Has that trait remained?

He’s slicker this time. He’s still an eccentric, jovial English chap but, because of the genius he has, there’s a lethal, powerful side to him. Although he does make a mistake I can’t tell you about [laughs].

Was there a particular gadget from the film you had your eye on?

There’s a fingerprint gun [which only works with Bond’s fingerprints] which is cool, but because Q is a computer whizz, there’s very little gadgetry. It’s just him and his computer. His mind is the weapon.

Are you a big gadget fan in real life?

No, I’m a total Luddite [laughs]. I have got an i… [thinks] pad. Yes, an iPad. But I don’t use it for anything else than picking up emails. I’ve just been working with Allison Janney who was in The West Wing and she’s not a particularly political person so there were lots of things she didn’t understand – she just had to act it. I felt a bit like that with Q. Like, I’m not a technical person, but I can make you believe that I am [laughs].

You’ve worked with Daniel Craig a few times – has he changed since becoming Bond?

No, he’s exactly the same – a really nice bloke. He’s a perfectionist; incredibly dedicated to his work and pretty hard on himself. I think he does feel the pressure of that character and having to deliver. But he can also be very playful and quite silly.

You had fun on set, then?

Well, I only did five days which wasn’t really enough time to relax into f*cking around [laughs]. My first day was a night shoot in The National Gallery. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked through the night, but it’s a bizarre experience.

How did you cope?

I was smoking a lot. It’s weird; your brain is telling you, “I should be dreaming now, not having to function and focus”. So lord knows what that scene will be like [laughs].

Finally, have you ever fancied playing Bond yourself?

[Laughs] What do you think? No. I think me playing Bond would be a little disappointing for most fans.

Ben Whishaw To Cameo In Terry Gilliam's "The Zero Theorem"

The last year to year and a half or so have been very good to Ben Whishaw. The rising British actor features in two of this fall's biggest films -- The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer's "Cloud Atlas" and that latest 007 flick "Skyfall" -- and Steven Spielberg wants the actor for his next blockbuster, "Robopocalypse." Before he gets to that though, Whishaw will making a quick pit stop to the set of a film by another acclaimed director.

Whishaw is set to take an unspecified cameo role in Terry Gilliam's "The Zero Theorem." The movie, which is quickly heading into production, already features a great cast and pretty compelling premise that fits right into Gilliam's fantastical playhouse. The story centers on an eccentric and reclusive computer genius, plagued with existential angst, who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence -- or the lack thereof -- once and for all. But his task is constantly diverted and interrupted thanks to the Management, who sends a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him. Christoph Waltz leads the film with Melanie Thierry co-starring, while Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton are slotted for cameo roles. It's in that capacity that Whishaw will be joining the movie as well.

And...that's about it right now. But likely lots more to come as the movie starts shooting on October 22nd.

Whishaw eyed for "Robopocalypse" role
Brit thesp has topped DreamWorks' list since casting began

Brit thesp Ben Whishaw, who stars in WB's "Cloud Atlas" and plays Q in Sony's upcoming James Bond pic "Skyfall," is being eyed for a key role in Steven Spielberg's "Robopocalypse," which is a co-production between DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox.
Sci-fi tale centers on the fate of the human race after a robot uprising. Drew Goddard adapted Daniel H. Wilson's novel, and Spielberg will produce with outgoing Fox topper Tom Rothman.

Chris Hemsworth is in negotiations to star, while Anne Hathaway has been approached for the female lead.

Whishaw has not received an official offer yet, but sources tell Variety that he has been at the top of DreamWorks' list to play a hacker named Lurker since the casting process began.

Disney will distribute "Robopocalypse" domestically through its Touchstone label while Fox will handle international territories. Companies will share equally in worldwide theatrical revenues. Pic opens day-and-date worldwide on April 25, 2014.

Whishaw's bigscreen credits include lead roles in Tom Tykwer's "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" and Jane Campion's "Bright Star."

Whishaw is repped by CAA and Hamilton Hodell.

sources: 1,2&3.