LOS ANGELES: Former pro wrestler and rising Hollywood star Dave Batista is joining one of cinema’s most exclusive families in his new role as a James Bond villain.
As Mr Hinx in “Spectre,” the latest adventure of the unflappable 007 due out in Britain next week and most everywhere else in early November, Batista joins a pantheon of bad guys that are at least as interesting as the British spy himself.
Fans are especially fond of Jaws — the towering Richard Kiel, who bit through power cables with his metal teeth as he faced off against Roger Moore in “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker” in the 1970s.
There is also Spain’s Javier Bardem as a twisted cyberterrorist in “Skyfall” (2012) and Denmark’s Mads Mikkelsen as crime lord Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale” (2006).
Batista, 46, hopes to add his Mr Hinx to the list.
He says the experience of filming a Bond movie “on top of a mountain in Austria” was a dramatic turnaround from his rough-and-tumble childhood in “the worst streets of Washington,” where he had become a car thief by age 13.
It “feels like you’re in a dream,” Batista told AFP in an interview, adding that Bond is “like the ultimate superhero, but real.”
Batista’s Mr Hinx works for the shadowy criminal group SPECTRE — the acronym for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.
The other lead bad guy — Franz Oberhauser, portrayed by Austrian Oscar winner Christoph Waltz — is also a SPECTRE member.
The network is not new to Bond faithful. It was first introduced on the silver screen in the very first film starring the super-spy, the classic “Dr. No” from 1962 starring Sean Connery as 007.
In the film, Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman), who had metal prostheses in place of his lost hands, reveals to Bond that he belongs to the criminal network.