Ralph Fiennes has said he believes filming for the next James Bond film, provisionally named Shatterhand, will begin as early as May.

The actor – who has played M, the head of the secret intelligence service, since 2012 – has not yet received a script or a start date.

However, speaking on Lorraine on ITV, he said he expected filming to begin in May or June.

James BondDaniel Craig will again play 007 in the new Bond film, which has reportedly been given the working title of Shatterhand (EON Productions/PA)

The 56-year-old said: “Well, I know we are shooting this year. I’m genuinely not being coy. I have not yet got a script and I don’t have a start date.

“I know that Daniel (Craig) is playing Bond and I’m looking forward to starting, I think, sometime in May or June.”

Asked about the time he was approached to play 007, he said: “Years ago I talked to (Bond executive) Barbara Broccoli, and indeed her father Cubby briefly.

New James Bond film SpectreRalph Fiennes as M in Spectre (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc/PA)

“But it didn’t work out and I think actually Pierce Brosnan, who was a fantastic Bond, played it, which was great.

“And I feel, on reflection, that I am happy playing M. I think Daniel is a brilliant, brilliant Bond.”

Fiennes is making his third directorial film effort with The White Crow, about Russian ballet star Rudolf Nureyev’s defection to the West in 1961.