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.

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.

Bond 24: The calm before….

Bond 24 logo

It’s a little more than a month before Bond 24 is supposed to start production. Yet, compared to 2011, as Skyfall was gearing up to start principal photography, there’s a bit of a vacuum.

In 2011, some of the major casting had become known: Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Berenice Marhloe had all been reported.

For that matter, there were (correct) reports what the title would be. One major plot twist — that Judi Dench’s M was being killed off — was reported IN THE SPRING OF 2011. By this time in 2011, it had also been reported that Harris would be revealed to be the new Miss Moneypenny.

Bond 24? Not nearly as much has come out. The last big Bond 24 scoop was that scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were summoned to do a rewrite of John Logan’s script. Since then, there have been reports about the casting of a secondary Bond woman and some reports about locations.

Even Baz Bamigboye, the Daily Mail scribe who gets a lot of 007 scoops, has been quiet of late.

For a lot of fans, all of this is just fine. They don’t want spoilers. Still, for a movie that’s going to be the followup to a billion-dollar blockbuster, there’s not as much buzz as you might expect.

That will probably change shortly. Still, it’s an oddly quiet time.

Bond 24 director of photography chosen, Hitfix says

tinker poster

Hoyte van Hoytema, who photographed films including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, has been hired to be director of photography on Bond 24, THE HITFIX WEBSITE reported.

An excerpt:

BAFTA-nominated cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema has been turning heads ever since his stunning work in the stylish Swedish horror film “Let the Right One In” crossed the Atlantic six years ago. And lately, he’s just getting all the good gigs, having stepped in for Spike Jonze regular Lance Acord on last year’s “Her” and for Christopher Nolan’s right hand man Wally Pfister on the upcoming “Interstellar.” Well, you can add another big pair of shoes for the talented director of photography to fill. With Roger Deakins exiting the James Bond franchise after 2012′s “Skyfall,” we can confirm that director Sam Mendes has tapped van Hoytema to shoot the still untitled 24th installment of the series.

Van Hoytema succeeds Roger Deakins, who received an Oscar nomination for his work on 2012′s Skyfall. Deakins didn’t win and opted to pass on a 007 return engagement for Bond 24.

The Hitfix story was written by Kristopher Tapley, who originally broke the news that Deakins wasn’t coming back for Bond 24 in a post on Twitter earlier this year.

The subject of who would follow Deakins has been a subject of discussion among Bond fans. You can view the entire Hitfix story by CLICKING HERE.

Bond 24 press conference suggestion: don’t take questions

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson

Bond 24 will start principal photography on Dec. 6, The Daily Mail said at the very end of a Sept. 11 story and the MI6 James Bond website wrote in more detail in a Sept. 13 article. That likely means a formal press conference in the coming months.

Here’s a suggestion for those concerned with Bond 24: just don’t take any questions.

Based on the November 2011 press conference for the start of Skyfall production, the co-bosses of Eon Productions, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, don’t really like answering a lot of questions. At that event, more than 10 minutes passed (out of less than 28 total) before reporters were even permitted to ask any.

If you did away with the question and answer part of the press conference, it would hopefully mean some clichés would go away. “The money’s all up on the screen,” or “I could tell you but I’d have to kill you,” for example. They don’t add anything.

Also, not taking questions would lessen (though not eliminate) the possibility of misleading things being said.

Director Sam Mendes, in an April PBS interview, said he cast the part of Bill Tanner in Skyfall when, in fact, actor Rory Kinnear already played the part in Quantum of Solace.

He also said Skyfall was the first James Bond film where characters were allowed to age, a statement that didn’t stand up to much scrutiny. Nor was that his first time saying questionable things. Back when he was in talks to direct Skyfall, Mendes denied it while his publicist confirmed it. Not taking questions would help avoid that.

Some fans think it’s ridiculous journalists should even expect an answer to a question (read one of the comments to THIS POST). They just want to watch the video. It’s also not like the media outlets wouldn’t show up if the movie makers didn’t take questions. They’d be there to record the various comments and get video.

For the reporters, would they miss much if not allowed to ask questions? At the 2011 press conference, the MC mocked the scribes for not asking what Skyfall meant sooner. Then, Barbara Broccoli gave the vaguest of answers.

Is it really a loss to not go through that? Most of the real information about the movie (that Skyfall would be the title, that Judi Dench’s M was being killed off, that Naomie Harris’ character was really Moneypenny, for example) came out elsewhere.

Purvis & Wade deliver Bond 24 draft, Daily Mail Says

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis.

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis.

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have delivered their rewrite of Bond 24, which is “substantially different” than earlier drafts, THE DAILY MAIL’S BAZ BAMIGBOYE REPORTED.

According to the newspaper, the start of production for Bond 24 has been approved for “late November/early December.”

Bond 24′s original writer was John Logan, who rewrote Purvis and Wade’s earlier drafts of Skyfall. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced in late 2012 that Logan had been hired to write both Bond 24 and Bond 25. Originally, the plan was for a two-movie story arc but director Sam Mendes said in April that plan had been scrapped.

Here’s an excerpt of Bamigboye’s latest story:

‘Everyone’s excited, and all systems are pumping away at full speed,’ my 007 informant told me, adding that Purvis and Wade’s script is ‘substantially different’ from Logan’s.

‘There was an awful lot of work to do. It was a big job. The impression given was that Purvis and Wade were hired to add jokes — but it was a bigger deal than that,’ an executive at one of the studios associated with the Bond films explained.

The last comment is a reference to Bamigboye’s June story that Purvis and Wade being hired to rewrite Bond 24′s script. That article had a line that Purvis and Wade had been “asked to ‘punch up’ the script and sprinkle in more gags, emphasising the witty repartee between Daniel Craig’s 007 and Naomie Harris’s Miss Moneypenny, and focusing on the interplay between Bond and Ralph Fiennes’s M.”

The new Bamigboye story also says “Mendes almost went down on his knees to persuade Purvis and Wade to return to the Bond fold. The director had a lot of making up to do, I was told.” Mendes had brought in Logan to do rewrites for the Skyfall story begun by Purvis and Wade. The reporter says all involved did their Bond 24 work professionally.

Bamigboye had a number of scoops about Skyfall and Bond 24 proven correct, including that Naomie Harris was playing Moneypenny in Skyfall and that Logan had been hired initially to write Bond 24.

If the Daily Mail scribe’s latest story is correct that the Purvis-Wade draft is substantially different, that suggests they’ll get a Bond 24 writing credit. That would be their sixth of the 007 film series.

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