The actor, who played Robin Hood on Once Upon a Time, will appear as Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, on NBC’s upcoming time-travel drama Timeless, EW has learned exclusively. In the fourth episode, titled “Party at Castle Varlar,” the heroic trio led by historian Lucy (Abigail Spencer) will encounter Fleming early in his pre-Bond career, when he served as an undercover British agent behind enemy lines.
Executive producers Eric Kripke (Revolution) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield) wrote Fleming into the story when they decided to feature Nazi Germany for the hour. “We knew we couldn’t just do a war movie, so where we landed was, ‘Alright, then let’s do a spy movie,’” Kripke tells EW. “We needed a spy in Germany to help our heroes and bring them into this world… and we turned to our historian, and he said, ‘Let me work on it,’ and then he comes running in the room an hour later and says, ‘Ian Fleming was there!’” Laughing, Kripke adds, “So, quickly, we realized our World War II story was really a James Bond movie, and we had the real James Bond.”