Bond 24: nature abhors a (media) vacuum

Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes

Nature abhors a vaccum, the old saying goes. So it is with Bond 24 — a movie still more than two years away. People are anxious for something, anything about it. Actor Ralph Fiennes presents a case study.

It began with A PRESS ASSOCIATION STORY CARRIED ON THE YAHOO MOVIES WEB SITE. That story quoted Fiennes in this passage:

The Harry Potter actor has been named as the next person to take on the role of M, after Dame Judi Dench’s character was killed at the end of Skyfall.

Asked about playing the famous part, Ralph said: “I think everyone knows that, I don’t think that’s particularly a secret.

“I’m looking forward to it very much.”

Pretty innocuous stuff, eh? A U.K. media outlet called Metro DID ITS OWN STORY citing Yahoo Movies for the quotes.

The Metro piece added this line at the end: “The next Bond film, to be directed by Sam Mendes, will reportedly be based on Sebastian Faulks’ 2008 novel Devil May Care.” There was a link to a JULY METRO STORY that in turn cited the U.K. Sun newspaper as the source.

Back in July, John Cox of the Book Bond Web site, which deals with Ian Fleming Publications on a regular basis ran A POST that included this line:

While it isn’t IFP’s policy to respond to rumors, I can confirm for you that this “scoop” by The Sun is complete and utter rubbish. Bond 24 is NOT based on Devil May Care.

Thanks to Metro, however, Bond fans are discussing this on the Internet all over again.

Skyfall and spoilers

“NOOO! It’s a SPOILER!”

No spoilers in the text. But there are in the links. So if you don’t want to know, don’t click.

On Oct. 21, The Sun newspaper in the U.K. had a Skyfall spoiler. The story (which you can view BY CLICKING HERE if you don’t mind spoilers) had the giveaway in the headline and the URL of the online version.

In other words, if you picked up the paper or looked at the Web site, it was in your face. That includes Americans who traveled to the U.K. to see the movie this week, first for its premier and then for regular showings, who had tried to avoid spoilers.

To avoid specifics in this post, we’ll just say it was a spoiler that was categorically denied (or worded very carefully to make it sound like a categorical denial) by the principal involved and 007 FAN SITES TOOK THE DENIAL SERIOUSLY. Now, it turns out….well, we said we wouldn’t tell you because, well, it’s a spoiler.

The internet has increased the difficulty in remaining spoiler free. This, in turn, has made some fans more and more angry about spoilers.

Back in the early ’90s, just as internet message boards were getting popular, somebody wrote a post on the old Prodigy system about Alien 3. It’s title? “ALIEN 3 — RIPLEY DIES!” Responses quickly were written urging new laws to prevent this sort of thing. Those were among the milder of the responses.

It has continued since. Some folks get concerned when you give away the ending of an old movie. They don’t necessarily get upset if you mention that Rosebud is the name of the sled, but will (with a straight face) object to talking about the ending of an eight-year-old film such as Layer Cake (which has a major connection to Skyfall; we won’t tell you what it is, because it’s a spoiler).

At one time, the 007 movies didn’t seem too concerned about spoilers; soundtracks had titles such as “Death of Fiona” or “Death of Aki” among their tracks.

Skyfall’s publicity has been different, with references to all the twists in the film’s story and thus it had to be hush-hush. On the other hand, there was a press preview two weeks before Skyfall was scheduled to be shown in U.K. While most of the critics who have written about the film have been restrained with plot details, it’s hard not to give anything away.

For U.K. fans, you only have a few more days to dodge the dreaded spoilers. U.S. fans have a tougher job, especially once U.K. 007 fans start writing on the internet about the film two weeks before it shows up in U.S. theaters.

Intriguing hints about Skyfall in some early reviews

Daniel Craig, awaiting the Skyfall reviews


While we’ve done our best to keep this spoiler free, if you’re feint-hearted about this sort of thing, stop reading now.

We looked over some early Skyfall reviews after a press preview in the U.K. on Oct. 12. The writers generally tried to avoid just reciting the plot verbatim but it’s hard to review a movie without saying something about the plot. In any case, there were some intriguing snippets in the reviews. Some examples follow.

OLIVER LYTTLETON, THE PLAYLIST:

The review says the 23rd 007 film, directed by Sam Mendes, is like a Christopher Nolan-directed 007 film without Nolan.

Best of all is the bad guy. (Javier) Bardem was always a tantalizing choice to play a Bond villain, and his Silva is a terrific creation, and certainly the most memorable villain in the series in decades. There’s too many fun surprises to the character to give away here, but rest assured that Silva — who again, owes more than a little to a Nolan character, namely Heath Ledger’s Joker — hits the center of the funny/strange/scary Venn Diagram beautifully, with the actor making some bold choices that payed off with a huge reaction from the audience in London tonight. (emphasis added)

The reviewer says Mendes-Bond (or sort-of-Nolan Bond) is closer to classic 007 than other recent entries.

(T)here’s a real sense of mystery to the plot, giving the film a propulsive whodunnit-and-why momentum that lasts into the final act. But it’s also crucially never dour; the emo-Bond of “Quantum Of Solace” is nowhere to be found, with Mendes treating things with a light, playful touch throughout.

The review is less enthusiastic about Skyfall’s running time, which reaches nearly two-and-a-half hours. The review gives the film a B-Plus grade.

BAZ BAMIGBOYE, THE DAILY MAIL:

The writer, who had a number of scoops about Skyfall while it was in pre-production and production, fawns over the movie.

This Bond adventure directed by Sam Mendes is pure classic 007 fare , back on firm footing after the less than memorable Quantum of Solace.

Skyfall was a fantastic combination of 007 meets Bourne meets Spooks meets Home Alone.

Graham Rye who has published the Double-O-Seven Magazine for 30 years, hailed the film as ‘brilliant’ and said it’s ‘up there in the top five of all the 23 films made in the world’s most famous film franchise’.

When I asked how many stars he would give Skyfall out of five he said: ‘That’s not the right number.’

He waited a beat and declared: ‘It’s a 10 star Bond film. It’s up there with the best of them.’

The writer also spills the beans about Albert Finney and his character, gives away one of the meanings of the film’s title and boasts one of his still-unverified scoops (which references in a coy way) is proven to be true. Which scoop? It’s mentioned in THIS JULY 13 HMSS WEBLOG POST. Obviously, don’t click if you want to stay spoiler free.

GRANT ROLLINGS, THE U.K. SUN:

The review tries to out-fawn the Daily Mail, with a headline, “The coolest James Bond film yet.”

This film is stylish, witty and a class above the competition. It’s also irreverent about its past.

Daniel Craig again proves himself to be a great Bond.

(snip)

Joining Craig in Skyfall is the most impressive set of actors and actresses ever assembled in one Bond film

ROBBIE COLLIN, THE TELEGRAPH

Another review saying Sam Mendes is channeling Christopher Nolan, director of the 2005-2012 Batman trilogy released by Warner Bros.

Sam Mendes’s frequently dazzling, utterly audacious entry in the franchise has less in common with its much-loved predecessors than Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. After its release in 2008 (when it left Quantum of Solace, the 22nd Bond film, trailing in its wake), Nolan’s pathbreaking superhero picture almost single-handedly reconfigured the modern blockbuster template. Like a wise old dog, 007 has studied it carefully, and learned some new tricks. (emphasis added)

007 in the Olympics, reports proven (mostly) right

It won’t be shown for a few hours in the U.S., but Daniel Craig appeared in character as James Bond in the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics.

Daniel Craig and Queen Elizabeth in a short film that was part of the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. This image is from MGM, which uploaded an image from the BBC.


The New York Times is LIVE BLOGGING the event.

An excerpt:

A video is showing Daniel Craig (as James Bond) arriving at Buckingham Palace. And the queen is in it! The genuine queen, not some costumed performer. She just said, “Good afternoon, Mr. Bond.” What a trouper! They’re getting in a helicopter (on video). And now they are jumping out of the plane (through special effects). Cute.

This was originally reported in the U.K. press on April 1, but has proven not to be an April Fool’s joke.

UPDATE I: Here’s an account in The Huffington Post. An excerpt:

Army helicopters then flew over the Olympic Stadium with a stuntman who played “Bond.” He then parachuted into the stadium to the tune of the theme from the James Bond movies. The best part? A stunt Queen also dropped in, Union Jack parachute and all.

UPDATE II: One critical thing didn’t happen. The 007 character wasn’t “knighted” by Queen Elizabeth II as reported by the London Standard.

Some Bond fans, especially those who were big fans of Daniel Craig, had argued this would amount to a de facto knighting of Daniel Craig himself. But it didn’t happen, so it’s a moot point.

That isn’t a bad thing because Ian Fleming’s James Bond turned down a knighthood in the author’s final 007 novel, 1965′s The Man With the Golden Gun. Thus the Olympics, by intent or by luck, ended up staying true to Ian Fleming.

UPDATE III: The BBC’s Web site has a video, which you can check out CLICKING HERE. The Queen’s dogs upstaged 007.

UPDATE IV: The video is on YouTube. CLICK HERE to see it.

UPDATE V: The Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. has a story that notes the doubles for Daniel Craig and Elizabeth II didn’t actually parachute into the stadium.

How real life may intrude on 007′s Olympics debut

This week, James Bond makes his Olympics debut during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Games in London. But real life may intrude on Bond’s appearance, at least on the U.S. broadcast, in the form of a serious real-life Olympics anniversary.

Daniel Craig’s Olympics appearance as 007 may not be the highlight of U.S. broadcast of the opening ceremonies.


While it hasn’t been officially confirmed, it looks as if 007 will be part of the opening ceremonies on July 27. This first surfaced on April 1 in a story in the U.K. newspaper, The Sun. According to that story, current 007 star Daniel Craig will play Bond in a film where he’s “knighted” by Queen Elizabeth II and heads to the Olympics site by helicopter to help get the Games started.

There have been numerous stories since in places as varied as the MI6 007 fan Web site, the London Evening Standard, the Daily Beast Web site in the U.S. and The Times of Malta, not to mention NBC’s Olympics Web site. Also, MI6 noted filming in June that seemed to be related to the Olympics film.

This has psyched up many Bond fans, including some who argue this is a de facto knighthood for Craig himself (CLICK HERE for a thread on a message board which includes that viewpoint.)

Meanwhile, in the U.S., at least, one broadcaster wants to make note during the opening ceremonies of a more somber event — the 40th anniversary of the killing of Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

NBC’s Bob Costas, who will anchor his network’s coverage of the Olympics, intends to make note of the anniversary, including 60 seconds of silence, according to a July 18 story in the Hollywood Reporter.

An excerpt:

When the London games officially launch July 27, Bob Costas will stage his own protest of what he calls a “baffling” decision: the NBC sportscaster plans to call out the International Olympic Committee for denying Israel’s request for a moment of silence acknowledging the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Games.

“I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he tells THR. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.”

Assuming Costas follows through, it won’t be the first time he’s commented about the 1972 event. In the following video, there are two clips of him commenting on ABC’s Jim McKay, who announced the fate of the Israeli athletes in 1972:

Meanwhile, CLICK HERE for a short commentary in the July 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal that approves of the stand Costas is taking.

UPDATED: Our Skyfall accuracy checklist

With Skyfall coming out in a few months, we thought we’d update our Oct. 30, 2011, post concerning the accuracy of reports over the past 18 months concerning the 23rd James Bond movie.

There are some fans who maintain nothing is official until something is announced. Actually, something like an actor agreeing to play a role is official when he or she has signed a contract (a legal obligation, thus official). An announcement is the end of the process and may not occur (as in the case of our first example below) until well after the actor has completed work.

Also, some of the newspapers that originated these reports don’t have the greatest reputation, including being implicated in the U.K. phone-hacking scandal. As a result, there is reason for fans to be skeptical. Still, many of the reports were eventually proven to be accurate — too many to be attributed to wild guessing. So at least some genuine information has been circulating before formal announcements were made.

Ben Whishaw would be the new Q: Reported by the BBC last year, citing Whishaw’s agent. Formally announced this week. Check. Daniel Craig proclaimed, “Agents are liars,” when asked about reports concerning Whishaw playing Q. Not in this case. Why an official announcement now? One possibility: a new Skyfall trailer was unveiled by Imax at the San Diego comic book convention on July 12. The trailer includes an exchange between Craig’s Bond and Whishaw’s Q.

Skyfall is the title: First reported by the Fusible Web site. Check.

Ralph Fiennes is in the cast: reported by the Daily Mail in February and Variety later. Check.

Albert Finney is in the cast: reported in the Daily Mail on Oct. 28. Check.

Naomie Harris is in the cast: Reported in June 2011 by the now-defunct News of the World. Check.

Berenice Marlohe is the cast: Reported by a Web site called Twitch. Check.

Bond will have a beard during at least part of Skyfall: reported by the Sun newspaper in the U.K. on Oct. 21. Check.

Skyfall will have November 2012 release date: Reported by Nikke Finke’s Deadline entertainment news Web site in late 2010, before the Skyfall title was chosen. Confirmed in news release from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions in early 2011. Later release dated tweaked so that U.K. release will be in October 2012, while the November 2012 date still applies to the U.S. Check.

Javier Bardem offered a role in Skyfall: First reported by by the Deadline Web site. Check.

Sam Mendes being considered to direct Skyfall: Reported by the Deadline Web site in January 2010. Check. Mendes denied the news in an article in The Wall Street Journal afterDAYS after his publicist confirmed talks were underway.

There are two major tidbits yet to be confirmed. One concerns the departure of a series character (SPOILER, don’t click if you don’t want to know). The other, an idea pushed by the Daily Mail newspaper in the U.K. is that Naomie Harris’s agent Eve character will eventually turn out to be Miss Moneypenny (CLICK HERE for one of multiple examples).

At this point, both remain to be seen. Given the fact Mendes denied he was in talks to direct Skyfall (while his publicist was saying otherwise) and Craig denied Whishaw was going to play Q (even as Mendes was confirming it), no official statements can be taken at face value at the moment.

Or, to use the words of Eon co-boss Barbara Broccoli, “Nothing has been announced.” But those words, by themselves, don’t mean they’re not true. We’ll just have to see the movie in the fall to be sure.

Craig and Broccoli say no schedule set for Bond 24

Skyfall’s producer and star suggest a Sony executive was “a little overexcited.”

Daniel Craig and Barbara Broccoli, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH COLLIDER.COM LAST WEEK, said there isn’t a firm schedule for Bond 24.

Here’s an excerpt:

(Question:) Last week Rory (Bruer), the president of distribution of Sony, announced Bond 24 for I guess late 2014…

Broccoli: He was getting a little overexcited (laughs). We’re just actually focusing on this movie. One hopes that in the future we’ll be announcing other films, but no one’s officially announced it.

Craig: No one’s announced anything. He got a little ahead of himself (laughs). It’s very nice that he has the confidence to be able to do that, but we haven’t finished this movie (Skyfall) yet.

Two things we’ve noted before: Sony wants Bond 24 to come out in 2014 and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has said it wants the Bond series to resume an every-other-year schedule. But Eon Productions owns half the franchise, and nobody other than Eon can produce a Bond movie as long as that’s the case.

On the other hand, variations of the line “nothing’s been announced” are meaningless. Announcements come at the end of the process. Craig and Broccoli said it hadn’t been officially announced that Ben Whishaw would be playing Q, or a similar character, in Skyfall. Then, around the same time, director Sam Mendes TOLD THE U.K. SUN NEWSPAPER that’s exactly what happened and that it was all his idea.

Our guess, and it’s only a guess: Don’t expect Skyfall Bond 24 until 2015. To have Bond 24 ready in two years after Skyfall, at least some work on a story should be underway by this fall. Maybe it has, or will, start by that time and nothing has been “officially announced.” On the other hand, Eon isn’t known for multitasking. Anyway, we shall see what we shall see.

Mendes tells Sun that Whishaw is Skyfall gadget master

The U.K. Sun newspaper has THIS STORY about Skyfall filming. In it, director Sam Mendes tells the newspaper that Ben Whishaw will play the gadget master of MI6. An excerpt:

Mendes tells the Sun Q is back

And (Mendes) revealed it was his decision to bring back the gadget master Q, who will be played by Ben Whishaw.

He said: “I missed Q and what he represented. I love the fact that Casino Royale said we don’t need all that.

“But now I felt we could start playing around with a few of these things that we were missing.”

Last month, star Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli refused to confirm the casting even though Whishaw’s agent originally disclosed it to the BBC.

The story also has quotes from Craig, Naomie Harris and others. You can CLICK HERE to read it.

If this is an April Fool’s gag, it’s a good one

Given this is April 1, 007 fans, like people generally, are taking a skeptical look at items they think may be April Fool’s gags. So it is with A STORY IN THE U.K. SUN NEWSPAPER saying that Daniel Craig filmed a scene in Buckingham Palace that will be part of the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

An excerpt:

JAMES Bond star Daniel Craig is to open the 2012 Olympic Games ceremony after a personal invitation from The Queen.

(snip)
In the film, he arrives by Royal Appointment to be told his latest mission is to launch the Games.

Her Majesty may even make a cameo appearance but the Palace is keeping details a secret.

A billion people watching on TV around the world will see Bond getting his instructions before he is taken by helicopter to parachute into the Olympic stadium in Stratford, East London.

Daniel, 44, and a film crew headed by Trainspotting director Danny Boyle were given unprecedented access to The Queen’s private rooms on Tuesday.

The story was picked up on THE WEB SITE OF FOX SPORTS (both the Sun and Fox Sports are part of the Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp.); the WEB SITE OF PEOPLE MAGAZINE; and a number of NUMBER OF OTHER NEWS WEB SITES gleaned from typing in “Daniel Craig The Sun Buckingham Palace” into Google.

Meanwhile, also on April 1, another U.K. newspaper, the Express, reported that Craig had filmed at the palace for Skyfall, the 23rd 007 film.. Both the Sun and the Express used the same headline, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” (All capital letters for the Express, “secret service” not capitalized in the Sun).

(A tip of the cap to the MI6 James Bond fan Web site, which had THIS STORY about the dueling stories in the Sun and the Express.)

Craig, with beard, starts filming Skyfall

U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper has a story about the initial filming of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie.

The story is heavy on photos and light on text. But Craig still has the beard he had during the Skyfall news conference. That would appear to confirm an Oct. 21 story in The Sun, another U.K. paper that Craig would be seen with a beard for part of the movie.

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