Bond music documentary: Some recycled material

John Barry (1933-2011)

I am watching the new James Bond music documentary on Amazon Prime. It’s very entertaining. But it also recycles a lot of interviews originally done in the 1990s for DVD extras for the Bond films.

Some of the videos of John Barry (1933-2011) for those extras are obvious to anyone who watched them originally. Also, some of the Barry interview footage was shown for a 2006 special about Bond footage on the BBC.

Some interviews with Monty Norman also were originally shown on those DVD extras.

That’s not to say it’s all recycled. There are some more recent interviews. It appears Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions made recent comments. Ditto for David Arnold, who scored five Bond films for Eon.

In the documentary, Barbara Broccoli says the title song for No Time to Die was from the female point of view.

American actor Robert Brown dies

Robert Brown (1926-2022)

Robert Brown, an American actor who had a long career on television, has died at 95, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Brown’s bio at IMDB.COM lists 31 credits from 1948 to 1994. He was also in the running for two prominent roles in 1960s television.

The actor was among those considered for the part of Napoleon Solo, according to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Book by Jon Heitland. Others included Harry Guardino and Robert Culp.

The role went to Robert Vaughn. At the time of the casting, Vaughn worked for executive producer Norman Felton on The Lieutenant.

Brown was even cast, briefly, as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O. Former CBS executive Perry Lafferty, in an interview for the Archive of American Television, said Five-O creator Leonard Freeman had second thoughts about Brown.

CBS had Jack Lord under contract for a possible Western series. Rose Freeman, the widow of Leonard Freeman, said at a 1996 fan convention that Lord was cast on a Wednesday and started filming the next Monday. Here’s an excerpt from the Lafferty interview:

The THR obit on Brown emphasizes two important roles: Being the star of Here Come the Brides, a series that ran two years on ABC, and cast as a last-second replacement on an episode of the original Star Trek series.

Eon Bond actor No. 007: Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Over the past few days, there have been events related to the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions.

Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have yammered about the next casting. “For Barbara and I, it’s something we keep in mind – we want to satisfy the audiences but we need to surprise them and refresh it, so that’s the challenge,” according to an account by Radio Times.

The thing is, Broccoli and Wilson have known *for a few years now* that Daniel Craig’s time as Bond was drawing to an end.

As a result, Broccoli and Wilson have known it was time for a change. But, based on their public statements, Broccoli and Wilson have talked as if nothing will happen soon. Supposedly, Bond 26 won’t start filming for at least two years.

By comparison, Albert R. Broccoli (Wilson’s stepfather, Barbara Broccoli’s father) acted quickly when a vacancy occurred with the role of Bond. Between 1985 and 1987, Eon cast *two Bond actors* (Pierce Brosnan and then Timothy Dalton).

Wednesday, Oct. 5, is Global James Bond Day. If a new Bond actor is announced that day by Eon, it will be a very cynical announcement. It wouldn’t be a matter of Eon playing fun and games. It would be the climax of a series of lies.

We’ll see how it goes.

Some basic facts about Craig being cast as 007

Here is some basic math about the 2005 casting of Daniel Craig as James Bond.

Daniel Craig’s 007 enjoys a few (hic) Vespers.

Daniel Craig, born March 2, 1968, was cast as James Bond in October 2005. He was *37 years old* at the time. He was 38 when Casino came out in theaters.

Matthew Belloni, a former editor at the Hollywood Reporter and now at the online news outlet Puck, had this line this week concerning possible future Bond actors.

(Eon will) commission a script, decide on a filmmaker, and start meeting with actors, likely younger than even Craig was when he took over the role at 34.

Thirty-four? No.

Belloni’s story also had this passage:

(MGM owner) Amazon, which isn’t used to the lack of control over a major asset like this, would love to alter the relationship, to expand the franchise and better incorporate it into Prime Video, and there have been rumors that the company is prepared to write Barbara and Michael a massive check to make that happen. I’ll believe it when I see it. 

Meanwhile, I’ll believe it when hot-shot entertainment journalists can do basic fact-checking and basic math.

Broccoli says Purvis & Wade will probably work on Bond 26

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis. (Paul Baack illustration)

Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions, said on an Empire magazine podcast that writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade will probably work on Bond 26.

Toward the end of the podcast, Broccoli talked about the challenges of casting a new Bond actor.

“That’s something we’ll do probably with Rob (Wade) and Neal (Purvis),” Broccoli said 49 minutes into a 51-minute podcast with Empire.

Purvis and Wade have worked on the Bond series starting with 1999’s The World Is Not Enough. The scribes have scaped up bits from Ian Fleming’s stories for Eon’s film series since that time.

Die Another Day (2002) was the one Eon Bond film with the scribes as the sole writers. Purvis and Wade shared The World Is Not Enough screenwriting credit with Bruce Feirstein; with Paul Haggis on Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace; with John Logan on Skyfall and SPECTRE; and with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Cary Fukunaga on No Time to Die.

Cinema Bond at 60

A one-time avatar for Eon’s Twitter feed

The cinema James Bond is a few days from its 60th anniversary. For Eon Productions, it has been a run of 25 films, starting with Dr. No through No Time to Die.

Eon has spent most of 2022 celebrating that run. At the same time, there’s uncertainty what happens now.

We all know that Eon boss Barbara Broccoli feels Daniel Craig is the best Bond. She made that clear in multiple interviews. A year ago, when No Time to Die came out, Broccoli said she just wanted to celebrate Craig’s run. That celebration continues this year.

Broccoli and Eon have made clear they’re in no hurry for post-Craig films. Broccoli has said it will be at least two years before Bond 26 starts filming. At least two years. That implies it could be longer.

Eon also is making a big deal about a new Bond actor having to make a 10- to 12-year commitment. At the same time, Eon isn’t making commitments to how many films it intends to make during that time. Three? More? If so, how many?

That’s something to be determined later. Bond — despite various studio issues, including a 2010 MGM bankruptcy — has had a long run. It’s no longer 1965 — when Bond dominated global popular entertainment — but 007 (despite being killed off in No Time to Die) still makes an impact.

Happy anniversary, Mr. Bond.

MGM watch: Epix to be renamed MGM +

MGM logo

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Epix premium TV channel will be renamed MGM + in early 2023, various outlets reported, including Deadline: Hollywood and Variety.

Epix originally was formed in 2008 as a joint venture between MGM, Paramount and Lionsgate. MGM eventually acquired all of Epix.

The Variety story had this passage citing Michael Wright, president of Epix, commenting how things have changed since Amazon acquired MGM.

“The good news is, Amazon has increased investment in content,” says Wright, who declines to get into specifics on how much that means. But, he contends, the new owners are “really helping us to grow this thing. So, we’re doing more of the same with, I will say, a greater emphasis on and celebration of MGM. We’re not going to be exclusive to MGM, we’re still going to be acquiring films from other studios. But a celebration of the MGM brand is a is a bigger part now of the service.”

MGM is the studio home to the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions.

Is it 60 years of Bond or 15 years of Craig?

This week, the official James Bond feed on Twitter promoted two projects: A Decca Records release of reimagined Bond movie themes and a documentary about the music of James Bond.

The promos have one thing in common. The visuals for both promos only show movie clips from the Daniel Craig era of Bond films (2006-2021).

Here is the tweet about the Decca Records release.

Here’s the tweet about the music documentary. There’s a lot of talk about Bond music but only images from Craig’s appearance in Skyfall.

All of this is in connection with the 60th anniversary of the Bond film series produced by Eon Productions. While Craig accounts for 15 years of that history, he did five movies, less than Roger Moore (seven) and Sean Connery (six, not counting the non-Eon Bond film Never Say Never Again). Also, Craig’s year total gets inflated because of gaps of 2008-2012 and 2015 to 2021.

A joke I’ve seen on social media is that Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli, whose admiration for Craig is well known, did the editing herself for these promos.

Craig’s run as Bond ended with 2021’s No Time to Die. But Broccoli said more than once she was in denial that the actor’s time as Bond was coming to an end.

Bond 26 questions: The Variety interview edition

A previous Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

So, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson gave an interview to Variety. The Eon Productions duo again said James Bond won’t return to theater screens soon and they’re looking for the next actor to make a long-time commitment.

However, there were other interesting tidbits. Naturally, the blog has questions.

How many Bond films will get made during an actor’s “10-, 12-year commitment”?

That’s the kind of commitment the Eon pair said they’re looking for from a new Bond actor. But at the current rate of production, that might only be three films. The Eon series had only two entries — Skyfall and SPECTRE — during the entire decade of the 2010s.

Yes, there were external factors, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s bankruptcy in 2010 and COVID-19 in 2020. But some of the gaps were self-imposed, including putting off the development of what became No Time to Die to try and get Daniel Craig back for another movie.

Will Bond 26 with a new actor really be that much different than Craig’s run?

One passage in the Variety story suggests not.

Both Wilson and Broccoli, who is a director of the U.K. chapter of women’s advocacy org Time’s Up, have left their mark on Bond, particularly in humanizing the once-womanizing spy and ensuring more fulfilling, meatier roles for the female stars of the franchise. These are qualities that will continue in the next films, says Broccoli. (emphasis added)

What are they up to in the interim?

Barbara Broccoli is one of the producers of Till, a fact-based film about the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 and its aftermath. It’s due out next month. Wilson “has written a TV show that the duo are looking to set up,” according to Variety. And both are involved in producing an Amazon streaming show 007’s Road to a Million. That is currently in production, Variety says. Amazon also owns MGM.

Producers talk to Variety about casting next Bond

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson

The next James Bond actor has to be in it for the long haul, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson told Variety in an interview.

“And when we cast Bond, it’s a 10-, 12-year commitment,” Broccoli said. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh yeah, it’d be fun to do one,’ Well. That ain’t gonna work.”

Wilson told Variety: “It’s a big investment for us, too, to bring out a new Bond.”

Eon’s most recent Bond actor, Daniel Craig, was cast as Bond in 2005 when he was 37. His five-film run as Bond ended with 2021’s No Time to Die. That film ended with Bond being blown to smithereens in a sacrifice play for his wife, Madeline Swann, and daughter.

Variety conducted the interview in late August. At one point, the producers said it’s early days for the search. Broccoli again said Bond 26 won’t go into production soon. “(I)t’s going to be a couple of years off.” 

There was also this exchange:

Even in this interview, when asked whether (MGM owner) Amazon might ask for a narrative Bond TV show, Wilson notes, “We’re trying to keep it theatrical,” and Broccoli swiftly retorts: “Well, we’re gonna keep it theatrical. We’re not going to try; we’ve got to do it. It’s just a theatrical franchise.”