Waltz to play Blofeld in Bond 24, Mail on Sunday says

Bond 24 logo

Fans have speculated about this since Waltz’s participation was originally reported, so we didn’t put spoiler in the headline. Stop reading beyond this point if you don’t want the details.

Actor Christoph Waltz will play Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Bond 24, THE U.K. MAIL ON SUNDAY REPORTED.

Here’s an excerpt from the story by Chris Hastings and Caroline Graham:

It’s been more than 30 years since James Bond faced evil Ernst Stavro Blofeld, his most feared adversary.

But now the intimidating baddie – famous for his trademark white cat and for gruesomely disposing of his failing underlings – is back. Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz is tipped to play the evil genius in a new 007 movie which is due to begin shooting next month.

The 58-year-old double Oscar-winner will join an elite band of stars who have previously played the role.

The Mail on Sunday is a sister paper to the Daily Mail, whose Baz Bamigboye REPORTED EARLIER THIS MONTH that Waltz was in Bond 24′s cast. Bamigboye, who had a number of Skyfall and Bond 24 scoops proven correct, didn’t specify the role Waltz would have in Bond 24.

The Mail on Sunday story says Waltz’s involvement in Bond 24 “will be confirmed” at an early December press conference. That story also says Waltz will be announced as “playing an unknown character called Franz Oberhauser, son of the late Hans Oberhauser, a ski instructor who acted as a father figure to Bond.”

But, the story cites “senior sources” who “believe the casting is a double bluff worthy of 007 himself and that Waltz is actually playing Blofeld.” The story quotes “one Hollywood source” as saying “the producers have changed the character to fit in with the new-look 007.”

Presumably, that comment is a reference to how the 007 film series started over with 2006′s Casino Royale. Daniel Craig has played Bond the past three movies and is returning with the as-yet untitled Bond 24.

The Blofeld character appeared in From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again. A character strongly resembling Blofeld was in the pre-credits sequence of For Your Eyes Only but his name wasn’t revealed.

A look back at Quantum of Solace’s publicity

quantum-of-solace-international-poster

Bond 24 is expected to begin filming next month. If tradition holds, that also means they’ll be a press conference for the start of production.

These press conferences primarily are intended to promote the movie. That’s one reason why it’s a good idea to take some of what’s said with a few grains of salt.

We came across the video below at HAPHAZARDSTUFF.COM. It’s the first of three (and counting) videos that examine the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace in detail.

We bring it up because in this first installment, we see a lot of footage from the Quantum press conference as well as other press interviews. Some of what the cast and crew said doesn’t, well, quite hold up to scrutiny. For example:

10:42 mark: Daniel Craig says, “We don’t have shaky cameras.”

10:48: Barbara Broccoli says, “It’s not a revenge movie.” (Full quote played around the 1:18 mark, “It’ not a revenge movie, it’s much more complicated than that.”)

10:50: Olga Kurylenko describes her character. “She’s driven by revenge.”

11:10: Director Marc Forester says, “I’ve never seen a Bond film set in a desert.” (Haphazard Stuff uses this opportunity to show desert clips from The Living Daylights and The Spy Who Loved Me.)

11:20: Forester in separate comments from what appears to be the same interview. Comment one: “I can’t think about an audience, making the movie to please them.” Comment two: “It has to be commercially successful.”

Well, you get the point. In any case, fans view these press conferences more as a chance to celebrate a new 007 film starting production.

To access all three Haphazard Stuff videos, CLICK HERE.

Quantum of Solace Review Part One from HaphazardStuff on Vimeo.

Damon back as Bourne: JB vs. JB

bourne poster

Matt Damon TOLD E! ONLINE that he’s returning to the role of Jason Bourne with Paul Greenglass again directing.

The movie would be made next year for a 2016 release, according to the E! Online interview. Does that mean we’ll once again get some James Bond “trash talk”?

Damon made three Bourne movies from 2002 to 2007: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. The latter two were directed by Greenglass.

In the 2000s, Damon wasn’t shy about criticizing Bond. For example, there’s this 2009 quote from a Miami Herald interview via The Huffington Post.

Damon called Bond an “imperalist, misogynist who goes around swilling martinis and bedding women and killing people. He’s repulsive.” He made almost identical comments in 2007 (also using the “imperalist” and “misogynist” gibes), ACCORDING TO THE DAILY MAIL.

At one time, Bourne was very much on the minds of the makers of James Bond movies. THE NEW YORK TIMES in October 2005 quoted executives it didn’t identify that “the model” for recasting the 007 role with Daniel Craig was the Bourne films.

The resemblance between the Bourne movies and Bond came with Craig’s second 007 film, Quantum of Solace. The movie utilized the services of Dan Bradley as second unit director, the same job he held on the Bourne movies. It had a lot of rapid camera movement, particularly in the first 20 minutes, similar to the Bourne series.

Since then, with 2012′s Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall, the Bourne-isms faded. Greenglass interviewed Mendes about Skyfall in 2012.

Bond 24, again with Mendes at the helm, is scheduled for a fall 2015 release. So it will be out well before Damon’s next Bourne effort. Still, given that Damon is an outspoken actor, it’ll be interesting to see if we hear more from Damon on the JB vs. JB comparison.

New Yorker says playwright tweaking Bond 24 script

Bond 24 logo

The New Yorker, IN A PROFILE OF PLAYWRIGHT JEZ BUTTERWORTH in its Nov. 10 issue, says the writer has tweaked Bond 24′s script, and did similar work on Skyfall’s story.

Here’s an excerpt:

It was early September, and Butterworth, who divides his time between London and a farm in Somerset, had spent the week in conference with Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig, tweaking story lines for the new Bond movie…This was Butterworth’s second Bond; he worked on “Skyfall,” too, making the kind of script changes that his twelve-year-old self, watching the movie at the St. Albans Odeon, would be pleased to see. “You know, like Bond doesn’t have scenes with other men. Bond shoots other men—he doesn’t sit around chatting to them. So you put a line through that.”

The Bond 24 script began with John Logan and then got overhauled by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who delivered their draft in July, ACCORDING TO BAZ BAMIGBOYE OF THE DAILY MAIL.

1966: The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.’s (reverse) Skyfall preview

Stefanie Powers and Noel Harrison in a Girl From U.N.C.L.E. publicity still

Stefanie Powers and Noel Harrison in a Girl From U.N.C.L.E. publicity still

The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., a one-season spinoff of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., is known for being a frothy, overly cute take on the spy genre. But it has one thing else: a preview, in reverse, of Skyfall’s pre-credits sequence.

GFU: In the pre-credits sequence of The Lethal Eagle Affair, the 11th of 29 Girl episodes, lead character April Dancer (Stefanie Powers) is in peril, tied atop a car. Her sidekick, Mark Slate (Noel Harrison), is keeping her under observation. Slate is in constant communication with U.N.C.L.E. chief Alexander Waverly (Leo G. Carroll).

Skyfall: In the pre-credits sequence, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is fighting an assassin atop a train. His sidekick, agene Eve (Naomie Harris) has frantically driven ahead and stops, keeping 007 under observation. Eve is in constant communication with MI6 chief M (Judi Dench).

GFU: An eagle is released by the bad guys and is descending rapidly toward April Dancer. Slate has the eagle in his gun sights and asks Waverly for permission to fire.

Skyfall: Eve has Bond and the assassin in her sights but doesn’t have a clean shot.

GFU: Waverly refuses Slate’s request to open fire. “You are there to observe,” Waverly says. He comes across as a bit cold blooded, which is the intent.

Skyfall: M tells Eve to blast away. “Take the bloody shot!” She comes across as a bit cold blooded, which is the intent.

The television episode is still a much lighter outing compared to the 2012 James Bond film and doesn’t have much else in common. But it’s still amusing to watch the U.N.C.L.E. episode play out compared to the Skyfall pre-credits sequence.

February 2013 post: 1968: I SPY PREVIEWS SKYFALL’S CLIMAX.

When is it time for 007 actors, or fans, to ‘move on’?

John Cleese and Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day

John Cleese and Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day

John Cleese, who appeared in two James Bond movies, has let it be known he doesn’t think that highly of 007 films since he departed the series.

Cleese is promoting a new book, but his association with Bond (in 1999′s The World Is Not Enough and 2002′s Die Another Day) keeps coming up in stories run by DIGITAL SPY SHORTLIST.COM and DEN OF GEEK among other websites.

Here’s an example of what Cleese has said. It’s from ShortList.com, and these comments have been picked up by other sites.

I didn’t see [Skyfall], because I have criticisms of the new Bond movies. Two things went wrong: the plots became so impossibly obscure that even professional writers couldn’t figure out what they were about; and the action scenes, which are supposed to make the adrenaline run, go on far too long. They discovered these movies were popular in places such as the Philippines and South Korea, and so they dropped the humour because no one there is going to understand jokes about the English class system. They’re financially incredibly clever, as the take goes up by $100m every movie, but one of the great things I’ve learnt in the last few years is just how much money spoils everything.

Cleese made some similar comments in June in a RADIO TIMES interview.

In turn, some 007 fans on social media have reacted by saying Cleese is bitter because he wasn’t included in the Daniel Craig reboot, starting with 2006′s Casino Royale, he should “just move on,” or simply “shut up.” Skyfall was a billion-dollar blockbuster, Casino Royale and Skyfall got some of the best reviews of the series, etc.

Of course, if you spend enough time on social media or 007 message boards or other spots on the Internet, you’ll see fans debate things going back 30, 40, almost 50 years. For example, many still don’t like how 1967′s You Only Live Twice jettisoned the plot of Ian Fleming’s novel. Some still strongly criticize the performances of Roger Moore, who hasn’t made a Bond movie since 1985. Some feel the movies went wrong in the early 1970s when the humor element increased. And so on and so forth.

A few questions: When is it time to move on? Ten years? Twenty? Longer? If Cleese should move on, should fans do so as well? Are Cleese’s complaints substantially different than the complaints fan air on the Internet? Where’s the line between being a devoted fan and taking things too seriously?

The answers are going to vary from fan to fan, of course. But Cleese has, probably unintentionally, given something for fans to think about.

Happy birthday, Sean Connery

Sean Connery, circa 1963

Sean Connery, circa 1963

Aug. 25 is Sean Connery’s 84th birthday.

A recent CBS NEWS POLL of Americans indicates he is still, far and away, the most popular screen James Bond.

In that poll, Connery was the No. 1 choice among 51 percent of those surveyed. The poll was performed July 16 to 20 among 1,024 adults across the Unites States. People were surveyed using both cell phones and land lines. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.

In the second position was Pierce Brosnan at 12 percent, with Roger Moore at No. 3 at 11 percent and Daniel Craig No. 4 at 8 percent.

Some Bond fans, expressing their opinion on social media, question the results, saying it sounds like a poll done before 2006. 

We suspect the results more reflect how Connery blazed the trail that others followed. No matter how well his successors have performed, he remains the original screen 007.

Happy birthday, Sir Sean.

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