From Dr. No to Goldfinger to Blofeld, no Bond movie is complete without a terrifying and charismatic villain -- preferably in possession of a subterranean lair, stolen superweapon, and army of henchmen. In the new movie Skyfall, Javier Bardem plays Raoul Silva -- a sinister blond-coiffed international terrorist who some critics have suggested bears an uncanny resemblance to WikiLeaks' Julian Assange.
Whether or not Bardem's character is based on anyone in particular -- he denies it -- there are more than a few global figures whose lifestyles seem inspired by Bond baddies. A caveat here: Not all of the following people are actually evil or out to rule the planet (as far as we know), but it's not hard to imagine them cackling while lowering 007 into a pool of hungry piranhas. So, in the spirit of fun and evil laughs, here's our highly speculative list of seven real people who would be great character studies for the next Daniel Craig blockbuster.
You Only Live Twice
We don't yet know much about the politics of Georgia's new prime minister, but he certainly has the lifestyle of an eccentric tycoon bent on world domination. Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia during the rough-and-tumble 1990s, lives in a massive $50 million futuristic glass-walled compound perched above the capital, Tbilisi, where he tools around on a golf buggy and tends a menagerie that includes penguins, zebras, and all eight breeds of peacock. Whatever plots Ivanishvili is cooking up, it's a good bet his albino rapper son, Bera, is involved.
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So far, the PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla entrepreneur has used his powers -- and his $2.4 billion fortune -- for good, but we'll certainly need Bond's help if Elon Musk ever goes rogue. The guy has his own space program and is planning to set up habitation on Mars. Clearly, he must be stopped before the "hyperloop"-- whatever that is -- goes operational.
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JOAQUÍN "EL CHAPO" GUZMÁN
The only drug trafficker on the Forbes billionaires list, El Chapo has built an international criminal empire and lived for years with a $7 million bounty on his head. (He once escaped from prison in a laundry truck.) Undaunted by the federales, his Sinaloa cartel has pioneered new methods of transporting narcotics, including catapults and submarines. Presumably, jet packs are in the works.
KIM JONG UN
No list of global supervillains would be complete without North Korea's boy leader, who combines a childlike fascination with Disney characters and aquariums with his father's sadistic streak -- he's rumored to have had one of the country's top generals executed by mortar fire. With rumors of a real-life underground lair and an already legendary taste for luxury goods, Kim Jong Un may fit the Bond villain profile, but SPECTRE would surely be embarrassed by the slow progress made by North Korea's weapons program.
The Russian arms dealer known the "merchant of death" may finally have been brought to justice after his arrest in Thailand in 2008, but during the 1990s and early 2000s, his fleet of Russian planes was a ubiquitous presence in conflicts from Angola to Sierra Leone to Colombia. Viktor Bout often sold weapons to both sides of the same conflict -- the Taliban and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, for one -- and was in business with global baddies from Charles Taylor, to Muammar al-Qaddafi, to Mobutu Sese Seko. He even helped the Pentagon supply weapons to Iraq's army. Thus far, Bout's life has inspired only a mediocre Nicolas Cage movie, but it would probably take a 007 film to do him justice.
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When police this year raided the New Zealand mansion of German hacker and entrepreneur Kim Schmitz, aka Kim Dotcom, whose now defunct online data-storage business Megaupload is charged with costing U.S. copyright holders more than $500 million in revenue, they found the eccentric Internet pirate huddled in a safe room inside a compound described by Wired as a "Kiwi Tatooine, protected by laser beams, guards, guns, closed-circuit TVs, infrared early-warning detection, and even escape pods." Before his arrest, the 350-pound Dotcom -- known as "Dr. Evil" in computer security circles, was best known for YouTube videos in which he showed himself partying with models and porn stars on his yacht and racing his "nitrox-fueled" Mercedes.
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What kind of man buys 98 percent of a 141-square-mile Hawaiian island? A supervillain bent on world domination, that's who. Yes, the Oracle founder says he intends the island of Lanai to be a laboratory for sustainable energy ideas, but that's just the sort of thing a supervillain would say. Still not convinced? Larry Ellison -- whose personal motto is Genghis Khan's creed "It's not sufficient I succeed. Everyone else must fail" -- owns an Italian fighter jet that he flies himself and was blocked by the U.S. government from importing a MIG-29 for personal use.
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