007 questions about Bond 23’s indefinite delay

The announcement that Eon Productions has opted to delay Bond 23 “indefinitely” is generating a lot of questions. Let’s get to them.

001. How long is indefinite? Well if there was a specific timeline, it wouldn’t be indefinite, would it? Still, indefinite can vary.

Golfer Tiger Woods, in a Feb. 19 statement didn’t actually say indefinitely but used similar words when talking about when he might play in a tournament again: “I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out that it will be this year.” It turned out to be less than two months.

In the case of Bond 23, how long indefinite turns out to be is linked to the fate of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and, for the moment, it appears that’s going to take longer than two months.

002. Does this mean Daniel Craig has played 007 for the last time? This will depend, at least in part, on the answer to 001. But here’s something to bear in mind: Pierce Brosnan’s tenure as Bond couldn’t survive a four-year hiatus by Eon; Timonthy Dalton’s couldn’t withstand a five-year hiatus. Even if Eon got Bond 23 out by 2012, a dicey proposition at the moment, that would be a four-year gap since Craig’s last 007 appearance in 2008’s Quantum of Solace.

003. Bye bye Sam Mendes? Eon has never officially announced Mendes was actually going to direct the movie. If he has been working on the film, the indefinite delay may very well scramble that. Recall that Guy Hamilton was actually signed to direct The Spy Who Loved Me, but bailed out as the partnership between producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman was coming unraveled. That event resulted in a mere two-and-a-half year gap between 007 films, which seems rather quaint now.

004. Bye bye Peter Morgan? Morgan, the scribe behind Frost/Nison, actually was hired officially. He indicated in a December interview that he hadn’t done any work on the project since October because of the uncertainty surrounding MGM. At this stage, it’s hard to tell if he’ll ever resume.

005. Do the Broccolis take this opportunity to cash out? We’ve noted before that producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli seem to show more enthusiasm for non-Bond projects. Also, Michael Wilson has talked since at least 1999 about how tired he is.

006. Bye bye Judi Dench? The Oscar winner is now 75 and potentially looking at a few more years before reprising the role of M. Part of the answer may depend on whether Craig returns as Bond or not.

007. How much damage does this do to the 007 franchise? This is the biggest question and perhaps the hardest to analyze. One the one hand, it has survived other long delays in launching Bond movies. On the other, how many of these shots can the Bond series take?

Bond 23 “delayed indefinitely”

This just in off the PR Newswire:

Bond 23 Delayed Indefinitely

2010-04-19 19:45:59.645 GMT

LONDON, April 19, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — 007 producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions, today announced they have suspended development on the next James Bond film previously scheduled for release 2011/2012.

“Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on BOND 23 indefinitely. We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of BOND 23,” stated Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli jointly.

EON Productions have produced twenty two James Bond films since 1962. In 1995, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli took over the 007 franchise from Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and are responsible for producing some of the most successful James Bond films ever, including CASINO ROYALE and more recently QUANTUM OF SOLACE. The James Bond franchise is the longest running in film history. EON Productions and Danjaq LLC are affiliate companies and control all worldwide merchandising for James Bond.

Copyright (c) 2002, PR Newswire Europe http://www.prnewswire.co.uk

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-0- Apr/19/2010 19:45 GMT

For the moment, we have no additional comments, other than to say that we are shocked but not surprised. Heartbreaking news, indeed.

UPDATE: Because of this development, we have updated this April 15 HMSS Weblog post handicapping the prospects for Bond 23 and three other spy movie projects.