After some financial problems at MGM forced Sam Mendes’ first crack at the James Bond franchise to be put on the backburner for two years, there are finally signs that the movie is prepped to go in front of cameras sooner rather than later. The Playlist is reporting that, after weeks of speculation, Naomie Harris has been confirmed to play the role of the classic Bond character Moneypenny in the next installment of the spy franchise.

The character has appeared in every Bond film, aside from 2005’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum Of Solace, and her inclusion could signal the integration of more classic Bond characters into the modern films. Harris has inherited a role that has been played by actresses such as Lois Maxwell, Caroline Bliss, and Samantha Bond in the past. Serving as M's secretary, Moneypenny has a flirtatious and tension-filled relationship with Mr. 007.

In addition to Harris' signing, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes have also been confirmed for roles, though no specific character has been revealed just yet (Bardem has been linked to a villain role, though). With director Ron Howard's mega adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower currently in limbo, Bardem's schedule is open. Fiennes’ role, meanwhile, is still unspecified, but described as “darkly complex.”

Currently operating only under the working title Bond 23, which will see Daniel Craig return as 007 himself, Mendes' flick is set to be released on November 9, 2012.

[Via The Playlist]

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