No Time to Die’s music video debuts with some new shots

No Time to Die’s music video debuted today. It includes some additional shots from the movie, mostly of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux as James Bond and Madeline Swann.

The song itself came out months ago. Performer Billie Eilish is photographed in black and white.

I could add more but the spoiler adverse would dislike it even with the usual advisory. So you can view it for yourself below if you wish.

Broccoli acknowledges NTTD is Craig’s last Bond

No Time to Die poster

In the first episode of the new official No Time to Die podcast, Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli acknowledges No Time to Die is Daniel Craig’s last James Bond movie.

“It is the fifth and final one that Daniel Craig is going to be doing,” Broccoli says around the 6:35 mark. “It’s a culmination of everything his portryal of the character has been through and it does tie up all the story lines.”

This is not exactly a big news flash. Craig has said this would be his last outing. But Broccoli, who chose Craig for the part in th 2000s, has been hesitant to say that.

“I’m in total denial,” Broccoli told Variety in a Jan. 15 story. “I’ve accepted what Daniel has said, but I’m still in denial. It’s too traumatic for me.”

The podcast includes comments from Eon’s Michael G. Wilson, screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, director Cary Fukunaga and other cast members.h/t to @Stingray_travel on Twitter who embedded the podcast in a response to a question from me.

Bond 25 questions: The official NTTD podcast edition

So, there’s a new official (i.e., released by Eon Productions and its studio partners) podcast coming out on Sept. 30. Naturally, the blog has some questions.

Is there a familiar voice in the promo? And I don’t mean Daniel Craig.

Quite possibly. Here’s the October 2011 press conference for Skyfall. It begins with the voice of an MC…

And that voice sounds very similar to the voiceover in this promo for the new official No Time to Die podcast.

So what?

So you should view the new podcast the same way you’d view a trailer or a TV spot — another promotion or the film, no more, no less.

Anything wrong with that?

No, as long as you go in with your eyes open.

What’s that mean?

In the promo video, Daniel Craig talks up how he loves playing James Bond. Five years ago, he sent out mixed signals on that score (which he has walked back, such as a 2017 interview with Stephen Colbert on CBS’s Late Show).

I’m not a mind reader. I don’t know what in Craig’s mind in 2015 versus later interviews. But it’s clear that Craig loves playing James Bond is a talking point in No Time to Die’s marketing campaign. Based on the promo video for the new podcast, we get more of that.

Anything else?

No. For everybody rooting for No Time to Die to come out in November, I hope you get what you wish for. I hope it’s safe enough to see the movie in a theater despite the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Where I live, the theaters are scheduled to open up on Oct. 9.

Eon, studios launch No Time to Die podcast

A No Time to Die poster

Eon Productions and its studio partners are starting a No Time to Die podcast on Sept. 30 to promote the 25th James Bond film.

The production company announced the podcast in a post on Twitter. That included a short video promising “unrivalled behind-the-scenes access.”

The new podcast has an Apple podcast page that went live last week. According to that page, the No Time to Die podcast will be a six-part affair.

Here’s the description:

No Time To Die: The Official James Bond Podcast is a new and exclusive podcast to accompany the worldwide release of the 25th Bond film, No Time To Die. Hosted by James King, the six-part series features exclusive interviews with Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Jeffrey Wright, Naomie Harris, director Cary Joji Fukunaga, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and a host of key behind the scenes crew from casting director to special effects supervisor.

Each of the six episodes focusses on a different aspect of the franchise. Learn everything about Bond from guns, gadgets, locations, stunts, costumes and cars.

No Time to Die: The Official James Bond Podcast is produced by Somethin’ Else in association with Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios, Universal Pictures International, United Artists Releasing and Eon Productions.

Bond 25 questions: The miscellaneous edition

“I want to see No Time to Die right now!”

Well, we keep getting new No Time to Die promos. Does that mean we’ll really, really get to see the 25th James Bond film in November?

Naturally, the blog has questions.

So is the movie really coming out in November?

Well, the various promos would have you believe that. New posters. A new promotional video from Omega. A new promotional video from Eon Productions featuring Rami Malek’s Safin villain.

So you’re saying yes, right?

I’m saying maybe.

What? Why?

We’re a little under 60 days from the U.S. release date for No Time to Die. The U.K. premiere date is before that.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t announced until March 4 that No Time to Die’s early April release date was pushed back to November. (The world premiere had been scheduled for March 31, just 27 days later).

So, there’s still time for yet another delay to be announced.

Oh come on! You’re being a Debbie Downer! Aren’t you?

Let’s just say the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which led to the April-to-November delay is still out there.

The coronavirus remains a big factor in the U.S. and U.K. If you look at the COVID-19 site maintained by Johns Hopkins University, the virus is still pretty widespread.

Meanwhile, other studios, including Walt Disney Co., are delaying 2020 releases into 2021. Disney’s Marvel Studios, for example, has delayed its Black Widow movie yet again, this time to May 2021

Those studios may be influenced by Warner Bros.’s Tenet, the first big theater release during the pandemic.

Anything to add?

Well, if No Time to Die sticks with its November release date, it will have less competition.

UPDATE (Sept. 25): The Wall Street Journal has a story today about how major theater chains are looking to No Time to Die to deliver customers.

At least MGM still seems committed to a November release of its latest James Bond movie, the aptly named “No Time to Die.” Any sign that the suave spy’s schedule also is slipping would be terrible news for Cineworld and its U.S. peers AMC and Cinemark.

Omega promo provides additional NTTD shots

If you’re spoiler averse, leave now. 

Omega today released an online promotional video for No Time to Die. The promo provided some shots not seen in previous trailers and television spots.

The main addition is a quick exchange between James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Q (Ben Whishaw). There’s also a hint that Bond will have an Omega that does more than tell time.

Naturally, the promo has a number of insert shots of Omega watches.

The thing to remember is that trailers and promotional videos sometimes have material that’s not in the final film.

Here’s the video

The nature of fandom

Daniel Craig as James Bond

The past few weeks have been rough for James Bond fans. They’ve witnessed the passing of key actors such as Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Michael Lonsdale.

All three had long careers that extended beyond James Bond films. But some Bond fans say something to the effect that they represent OUR Pussy Galore, OUR Tracy, OUR Drax.

However, fans of The Avengers TV series might counter something like, yes but that’s OUR Cathy Gale or OUR Emma Peel.

This extends beyond Bond fandom.

I’ve seen some fans of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. say having an American and a Russian as partners was BIG AND BOLD.

Meanwhile, fans of the original I Spy television series counter that having a White and a Black man as equal partners was a lot more controversial in the U.S. in the 1960s.

Undoubtedly, there are many other examples. Many fans, though, don’t want to examine all that. They are concerned with their fandom. No more, no less.

No criticism is intended in any of this. It’s the way of the world. It’s also the nature of fandom.

Michael Lonsdale dies at 89

Michael Lonsdale as Hugo Drax in Moonraker

French actor Michael Lonsdale, who played the lead villain in 1979’s Moonraker, has died at 89, according to news accounts, including the BBC and France 24.

Lonsdale’s Hugo Drax wasn’t the scarred, bombastic villain of Ian Fleming’s third James Bond novel.

Rather, the Lonsdale version was cool, calm and prone to making droll remarks such as, “See that some harm comes to him,” as he orders a henchman to kill Bond.

The film Drax also liked to take digs at the English. In one scene, he refers to “afternoon tea” as the major English contribution to Western culture.

Moonraker was an English-French co-production. As a result, French actors were placed in a number of roles. The movie ended up being a big hit in the summer of 1979 as Roger Moore’s James Bond went into space for a final showdown with Drax.

Lonsdale’s career began in the mid-1950s and extended into the 21st century.

His English-language highlights included The Day of the Jackal (1973), where he played a detective on the trail of an assassin trying to kill French President Charles de Gaulle; The Name of the Rose (1986); Ronin (1998); and Munich (2005).

In 2010, The Wall Street Journal published a profile of the actor (be warned it’s behind a paywall). It was headlined, “A Gentle Screen Giant Subtly Shines.”

Here’s an excerpt concerning the actor’s versatility.

Mr. Lonsdale has played the gamut of religious roles —priests, abbots, cardinals, inquisitors—as well as countless aristocrats ranging from English lords to Louis XVI. Also a man of the theater, his circle of friends has included literary heavyweights like Marguerite Duras, Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, whose works he performed on stage in Paris in the 1960s. Perfectly bilingual, he moves easily between the bizarre shoe salesman in François Truffaut’s “Stolen Kisses” and the campy bearded villain in the James Bond classic, “Moonraker.”

About that whole Bond 26 thing

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

This week, a website I am totally unfamiliar with stated that Tom Hardy is definitely the next film James Bond.

Naturally, Bond fans jumped in to debate, argue and discuss whether this was so. I’m not going to link to it because there has been enough heat and no light.

Perhaps a better subject would be under what circumstances a Bond 26 movie would occur.

Specifically, with the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), is making a $200 million to $250 million movie practical anymore?

The Christopher Nolan-directed Tenet was supposed to save cinema. It’s not happening in the United States (still a major movie market). Warner Bros., Tenet’s studio, has responded by delaying (again) Wonder Woman 1984 to Christmas.

But, Bond fans say, James Bond is different. It’s an established intellectual property (known as IP).

Sure. But a second COVID-19 wave is occurring internationally. And the U.S. as a whole, still has yet to get the pandemic under control. Major states such as Florida, Texas and Georgia are a big mess. Theaters in New York and California are still closed.

The traditional business model was movies came out in theaters, followed by video on demand, followed by home video. All of those sources were vital.

Movie studios (including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio) were grappling with the future before COVID-19. Netflix was the main source of pressure and the studios were coming out with their own streaming competitors.

The pandemic puts more pressure than ever on studios. What’s the future for movies in theaters?

Tom Hardy is guaranteed to be the next James Bond? The question is whether James Bond movies are guaranteed in the future.

No Time to Die is a pre-COVID-19 film trying to come out amid COVID-19. The future for Bond is uncertain — as uncertain as it is for movies generally.

Happy 87th birthday, David McCallum

David McCallum in a Man From U.N.C.L.E. publicity still

Today, Sept. 19, is David McCallum’s 87th birthday.

There’s not a whole lot that needs saying. He’s had a great career. He still has many fans who admire him. Happy birthday. We’ll leave it at that.