UK voters disregard Craig, 007 producers on Brexit vote

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

UK voters weren’t swayed by 007 (both the actor playing him and the producers employing him).

Britain voted Thursday to depart the European Union. Daniel Craig, who played James Bond for four movies, and Eon Productions co-bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were among celebrities and movie producers who had publicly urged voters to stay in the EU.

The Thursday vote is “a historic decision sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world, rattle the Continent and rock political establishments throughout the West,” Steven Erlanger wrote in a story in The New York Times.

Craig had been among celebrities, including former soccer star David Beckham, who came out in support of the UK staying in the EU. Other celebrities, such as actor Michael Caine and author Frederick Forsyth, urged the UK depart the EU.

Broccoli and Wilson were among about 20 movie producers who said the UK’s membership in the EU had provided funds to help the nation’s movie industry.

The vote is a huge story with worldwide implications. The 007 angle is only a small part of the story. Still, in this case, the 007 contingent didn’t convice the UK electorate.

 

Sony executive says no talks on new 007 deal yet

sonylogo

A Sony Pictures executive, in an interview with THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, said the studio hasn’t started talks with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer concerning whether Sony will distribute future James Bond films.

Tom Rothman, who heads Sony’s movie group, didn’t say much more than that. Sony has released the past four 007 films, starting with 2006’s Casino Royale and running through 2015’s SPECTRE. Sony’s most recent two-picture contract expired with SPECTRE.

Here’s the exchange in the interview:

 

Where do discussions stand on the next James Bond film?

I’m not going to comment on that, other than to say that we remain very interested in continuing that excellent and important relationship. And I think we have certain advantages as the incumbent. No discussions have started yet.

MGM emerged a smaller company after exiting bankruptcy in 2010. It has no distribution organization and cuts deals with other studios to release its movies. Under the Bond deal, MGM and Sony co-financed the movies but Sony’s cut of the profits was small.

Rothman assumed the Sony job after Amy Pascal — the Sony executive who negotiated the Bond film deal — departed the studio although she has a producer’s deal at Sony.

In March, MGM CEO Gary Barber said on an investor call, “There’s no rush” to negotiate a new 007 deal with Sony or another studio. “We’re evaluating all of our options. We will advise on the deal when we actually make it.” Based on Rothman’s comments, that hasn’t changed.

Rothman, in The Hollywood Reporter interview, also commented on Sony’s relationship with Marvel Studios concerning future stand-alone Spider-Man movies.

“Sony has the ultimate authority,” the executive told the entertainment website. “But we have deferred the creative lead to Marvel, because they know what they’re doing.”

Sony released five Spider-Man films from 2002 through 2014. Under the agreement with Marvel, Spider-Man is now part of Marvel’s film universe. The character made his Marvel Studios debut with last month’s Captain America: Civil War.

Should Daniel Craig stay or should he go?

Daniel Craig in 2012 during filming of Skyfall.

Daniel Craig in 2012 during filming of Skyfall.

By Nicolás Suszczyk, Guest Writer

Should he stay or should he go?

It seems like yesterday when Pierce Brosnan was dismissed from the role of James Bond, Martin Campbell announced as the director of Bond 21 aka (the official version of) Casino Royale and the thousands of candidates tipped by the press to replace him: Heath Ledger, Ewan McGregor, Henry Cavill and Daniel Craig.

It also seems like yesterday when Daniel Craig was finally announced to the doubtful worldwide press as “The New James Bond.”

I was 15 then. I can even recall a newsflash in Argentina reading, “Doubts, many doubts” when showing the footage of the Chester-born actor, posing next to producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a photo call that seemed to say it all without a single caption describing it.

In 10 years that passed as 10 seconds, Craig seems to be leaving the role.

I don’t know if he will and I don’t believe in the gossip British and American tabloids, whose headlines are almost copied-pasted throughout the rest of the world, where the James Bond phenomenon has expanded since 1962. But, I have to admit, when people such as Graham Rye, the 007 Magazine editor, provides information on the subject, I may actually think about it.

So, without saying if he stays or if he goes (because I clearly don’t have that information, and maybe very few people do) or the real reasons on why he’s leaving or has been ditched, according to the sources we’ve heard, I want to offer my opinion on his future. And it’s going to be a very heartfelt opinion, because Craig was the Bond of my teens and adult life.

I want him to come back, but I think he should leave.

I’m not too much convinced on the tipped “replacements” and, of course, Craig can do one more Bond film at 48.

He still looks the part and showed a cool side of Ian Fleming’s spy: tough and brutal, but still fresh and humorous. But I honestly think he gave us all he had to give and “his” Bond found what he was looking for.

CinemaSins jokingly said that none of Craig’s Bond films can get over Casino Royale in their “sin count” of SPECTRE, and beyond the puns intended, that is indeed true. Because the 2006 film presents us the main conflict of the character: his emotions shattered after the induced suicide of the girl he loved, his purpose to avenge her (yes, to go behind the man “who held the whip” but with a slight desire of settling the score) and the need of getting over her and run away from that world of violence he belongs to because, apparently, it was “better than the priesthood.”

In Casino Royale, Craig/Bond loses Vesper; in Quantum of Solace, he finds a way to make justice; in Skyfall, an apparently “unrelated” story arc movie, he fails to protect Judi Dench’s M, who dies in his arms; and in SPECTRE we learn everything was connected to his foster brother Ernst Stavro Blofeld who operated from the shadows to make him lose the ones he loved.

007 defeats the villain, but instead of shooting him at point blank he decides to leave him to MI6 and sign off for a better life next to his new love, Madeleine Swann.

The end of the movie is a bit reminiscent to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where Bond and his new wife Tracy left on an Aston Martin and then she was shot dead by a machine gun attack led by Blofeld and his henchwoman Irma Bunt. Even the last sentence of the 1969 film was, at one point, in SPECTRE’s script: “We have all the time in the world.”

In the finished film, the line was dropped and a smiling James Bond drove the DB5 next to Madeleine right through the London streets as Monty Norman’s trademark theme sounded.

I was incredibly happy when I saw that scene and I immediately thought it’s the best farewell Craig’s Bond could have.

Incredibly enough, after my first watching, a friend told me: “Hey, but she’s going to die in the next one,” connecting that scene to the tragic climax of the only 007 movie starring George Lazenby.

I wouldn’t like that again for two reasons: one, it would be way too repetitive that Bond loses two women close to his heart in four movies. It would be expected. It would be repeating a past, an exclusive past that is not compared to have many villains plotting WWIII or extravagant liars.

SPECTRE poster

SPECTRE poster

Two, Craig’s portrayal of the role has been so special, unique and different to the other five actors (the whole creative process for this era was different and continuity, in a way or another, mattered) that I feel he deserves this happy ending.

It’s a far cry for Connery/Bond next to a hussy Tiffany Case asking for the diamond-made satellite in the sky, Moore/Bond taking a shower with the clingy Stacey Sutton, a tuxedo-clad Dalton/Bond kissing the self-reliant Pam Bouvier in a swimming pool or Brosnan/Bond throwing diamonds on NSA agent Jinx’s belly during lovemaking.

Only George Lazenby’s final scene as Bond had the tragic ending of the hero crying over the dead body of his bride.

And SPECTRE’s ending is the perfect “revenge” to that scene: James Bond finally gets to be happy with the girl he loves and not with a fling, and they can have a happy future: a future that will not be known to us.

How could Bond and Madeleine fell for each other so quickly is still a subject of debate and I agree the relationship needed more development. Yet Léa Seydoux’s character can make a judgment call on 007 and make him throw the gun away right before he shoots Blofeld dead.

Minutes before, the villain lured Bond into the soon-to-be-demolished ruined MI6 building, now decorated with photos of Vesper and M. “This is what left of your world, everything you stood for, everything you believed in, are in ruins.”

When 007 opts not to kill his “brother,” he embraces Madeleine. They kiss and walk away of the crowded Westminster street where a wounded Blofeld lies before being arrested. Bond walks out of that world of violence and destruction the mastermind wanted for him.

The film’s proper ending is a Bondian epitaph for the Daniel Craig era. He is now the James Bond we all know and love, he’s there again, but keep “being Bond” would mean the end of his happy life: another Vesper. So, he says goodbye.

In 1615, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra decided to kill of Don Quixote so that no other author could continue writing about him, because he wanted to “own” him. The same should happen to this version of James Bond, because Daniel Craig “owned” the character, from that brutal black and white bathroom fight (at the start of Casino Royale) to the stylish Aston Martin ride with a girl.

So, to summarize this article – or extensive dilemma– should Daniel Craig’s James Bond stay or go? I want him to stay, I would love him to stay.

But he should go.

UPDATE (June 23): “Versión en español en Bond en Argentina” (to read a version in Spanish on the website Bond en Argentina), CLICK HERE.

 

Daniel Craig, Eon co-bosses come out against Brexit

Daniel Craig’s future as James Bond may be uncertain, but the 48-year-old actor publicly came out Tuesday against the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

An image of Craig made the rounds on social media and was tweeted about by, among others Prime Minister David Cameron. U.K. citizens will vote in a referendum on Thursday whether to remain in the EU. The idea of the U.K. departing the EU is popularly known as “Brexit.”

Politics is something this blog avoids. We note this only because Craig, the incumbent 007 has a lot of fans. Also, Craig has been keeping a low public profile of late.

Here’s Cameron’s tweet:

UPDATE (7:20 P.M., New York time): A group of movie producers, including Eon Production co-bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, are also urging the U.K. to stay in the EU, according to a story in Variety. (Thanks to reader Roland Hasler)

Here’s part of the statement signed by the movie producers, via Variety

The U.K. is part of the E.U.’s MEDIA/Creative Europe Program which provides significant funding to our film, television and games industries each year. Between 2007 and 2015 our industry benefited from almost €130 million ($146 million) provided by this program. Without this, many of the regional production funds across the U.K. would not have the resources they currently have. This money has helped to support thousands of highly skilled creative and technical jobs and film and television companies nationwide. This money also helps ensure that audiences across Britain can enjoy a rich and varied diet of films at the cinema and on the small screen which they might not otherwise see.

Some questions about the future of 007 films

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

There’s still no news (at least officially announced news) on the James Bond movie front. But that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of questions. And so…

Is Daniel Craig coming back as 007 or not?

Over the weekend, 007 fan sites weighed in. Graham Rye’s 007 Magazine said the actor wasn’t and that Tom Hiddleston had been offered the job. The Book Bond site also said Craig wasn’t while adding “Eon (Productions) and Barbara Broccoli are the ones who are done with Craig.” James Bond Radio said on Facebook that “we’re confident it’s all BS and Hiddleston isn’t actually in the frame.”

All cited sources they had confidence in, but obviously there isn’t a unanimous picture from the three sites. (Thanks to The James Bond Dossier for its post on the subject.) With the lack of any official announcement, there’s no definitive answer to be had.

What do you think? 

Mixed. On the one hand, it has been almost a year since SPECTRE wrapped up filming. If he really wants to come back, does he need another year off to make up his mind?

In the meantime, his dance card for the upcoming year or so is starting to fill up. Currently on tap is a heist movie, a play and a limited-run TV series on Showtime.

On the other hand, few people know what he’s really thinking. And they’re not making public pronouncements. For now, much of this is a matter of faith, whether you want Craig back or want a new 007.

What happens next?

There are so many things that need to be settled. Among them: Which studio strikes a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to release Bond 25 and future 007 films? Who gets hired to write Bond 25’s script? If Craig really is gone (and we’re not saying he is), who gets the nod to replace him?

From a fan’s standpoint, this is the frustrating thing: Four years after Skyfall became a billion-dollar hit, 007’s film future is very unsettled.

James Bond will return, it says in the end titles of 007 films. But when and in what form are unsettled at this point.

007 Magazine says Craig out, Hiddleston has offer

Daniel Craig in SPECTRE's main titles

Daniel Craig in SPECTRE’s main titles

Graham Rye’s 007 Magazine in a POST ON FACEBOOK said Daniel Craig “has walked away from the Bond role” and that Tom Hiddleston has received an offer from Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli.

007 Magazine initially didn’t specify in the June 17 post how it obtained the information. In a June 18 response in another thread on its Facebook page, it said it had a source that provided the information.

We tried to imbed the post but our software wouldn’t cooperate. So here’s an image via the message board of the MI6 James Bond website.

Graham Rye Craig

In a separate thread on the Facebook page, in response to skeptics, 007 Magazine said, “As it stands at present, what 007 MAGAZINE has reported is FACT!” Also, “Like any good journalist, we never reveal our sources.” Finally there was this comment:

“If 007 MAGAZINE didn’t have total confidence in our source we wouldn’t have published our comment…(snip) Eon Productions denied claims? Is that the same Eon Productions that denied that Pierce Brosnan had been signed to play James Bond in 1986? ;O)

 

Last month, 007 Magazine went to Twitter to criticize media reports that Craig had left the role. Here’s that tweet:

Craig’s future (or lackthereof) as Bond flared up on May 18 when the U.K. Daily Mail tabloid reported the actor turned down a 68 million pound ($99 million) offer to return for two more 007 films. The BBC, in a small post on May 19, said it had been told by “authoritative Bond sources” that Craig hadn’t made a decision.

Hiddleston earlier this month talked down the chances he’d get the Bond role in stories IN THE DAILY MAIL and THE GUARDIAN.

Eon hasn’t put out a press release yet about any of this.

 

Paramount may revive The Saint, Deadline Says

Title card for the 1960s TV version of The Saint

Title card for the 1960s TV version of The Saint

Paramount try to turn The Saint, the character created by Leslie Charteris, into a film franchise, Deadline: Hollywood reported.

Simon Templar has been adapted many times, both as films and as television series. A 1960s TV version made Roger Moore a star, helping him secure the role of James Bond in the 1970s.

A 1997 film version, also released by Paramount and with Val Kilmer, didn’t result in any sequels. But that’s not stopping the studio, according to Deadline. Here’s an excerpt:

 

Producing deals are being closed now, but it’s likely that Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Robert Evans will produce in hopes of launching another action franchise at the studio.

(snip)
If the deal makes, the studio may have another franchise in development as the character itself seems ripe for a re-do in a modern age of terrorism and corruption in the political ranks.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producer of the Transformers movies as well as spy-related films such as Salt and RED.

Robert Evans, who turns 86 later this month, was a Paramount executive involved with The Godfather and was producer of Chinatown. He was also a producer of the 1997 version of The Saint.

To read the full Deadline story, CLICK HERE.

 

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