007 star Christoph Waltz has admitted he thought twice before signing up for the new Bond film - and dismissed persistent rumours that he is playing the classic supervillain Blofeld.
The double Oscar winner has been cast as a baddie, with the name Franz Oberhauser, in the movie Spectre, starring Daniel Craig.
But that - and the release of a recent trailer - has not stopped speculation that while his character is technically named Oberhauser, his alter ego is actually the famous cat-loving villain Blofeld, who appeared in several previous Bond films.
"That is absolutely untrue. That rumour started on the internet, and the internet is a pest. The name of my character is Franz Oberhauser," he told GQ magazine.
The Austrian star said that he only wanted to appear in a certain kind of Bond film - and compared the movies to Punch and Judy shows.
"I did, yes (think twice). I always hesitate... You ask yourself, hang on: what James Bond are we talking about?
"The thing about Spectre is that it is not the work of hack writers," he told the May edition of the magazine.
"It does not have a hack director. The actors are not hams. The action sequences in Mexico are extravagant to say the least.
"The scenes in Austria are traditional Bond action in the snow. These films with Daniel Craig have shifted the tone. They don't depend on a set formula that forces actors simply to go through the motions," he added.
Waltz, whose shadowy outline can be seen in the latest Bond trailer for the movie, directed by Sam Mendes, added: "A James Bond film can be artistically fulfilling. Absolutely it can. It can be complex and it can be interesting.
"I consider Bond movies to be an extension of popular theatre, a kind of modern mythology. You see the same sort of action in Punch and Judy, or in the folk theatre of various cultures".
The Django Unchained actor said of achieving success later in his career: "It feels good... I feel like I served my time. I feel I have paid [my dues]."