Emilio Largo is a fictional high ranking member of the global criminal organisation SPECTRE. Based on the literary character of the same name from Ian Fleming's 1961 novel, Largo is the main antagonist in the EON Productions' 1965 James Bond film Thunderball. Played by the late Italian actor Adolfo Celi but voiced by actor Robert Rietty, the character is also a multiplayer character in the 2010 video game GoldenEye 007. He would later re-imagined for the 2015 mobile game James Bond: World of Espionage.
In the 1965 film adaptation, Largo is portrayed as a grey-haired man in his late 40s who wears an eye patch and works for the criminal organization, SPECTRE. In the film, Largo is "No. 2" and head of their current extortion operation.
As with the novel, Largo has two main headquarters; a villa at Palmyra and his private yacht, the Disco Volante. Unlike the novel, his estate at Palmyra plays a much greater role in the film adaptation. When not transporting the warheads, Largo spends much of his time at the villa, which now includes a large swimming pool filled with his prized shark collection. James Bond is later knocked into the shark pool, but manages to narrowly escape.
Largo's scheme in Thunderball, at the time, was unique and ingenious. It involved the theft of two nuclear weapons from NATO at sea to which he would then use to hold the world hostage by threatening to detonate the two devices in England or the United States unless they paid the ransom of £100 million British pounds. This scheme has been used countless times since Thunderball and is even a joke in the Austin Powers series of movies.
In the film, his death is less gruesome than the novel, but more dramatic. As Bond and Largo do battle on the bridge of the Disco Volante, the spy is knocked to the floor by a sudden collision. In the confusion Largo snatches a nearby pistol and holds 007 at gunpoint. As he prepares to pull the trigger Domino shoots him in the back with a harpoon. He turns and collapses dead on the ship's wheel, jamming the controls. Unable to move the body and with seconds to spare, Bond, Domino and Kutze leap overboard as the Disco Volante runs aground and explodes violently.
Behind the scenes
During the underwater scenes, Largo was played by Big John McLaughlin.
- In early drafts of the script which were written prior to the novel, Emilio Largo was a Mafia figure heading a fake convention of garment workers in Nassau.
- Celi was offered the role of Largo after appearing in the early Bond spoof, That Man from Rio.
- Emilio Largo is parodied in all of the Austin Powers movies as a character named "Number Two". Number Two, played by Robert Wagner, also has an eyepatch and is the second in command in Dr. Evil's evil organization.
- The reason why Largo wears an eyepatch is never explained.