Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz are married in New York

The new Mrs. Craig

Not that it’s any of our business, but we are otherwise pleased to report that Daniel Craig ( Tomb Raider II) was married to actress Rachel Weisz ( The Mummy) this past Wednesday in a private ceremony in New York.

You can read the full story at The Guardian UK or, by this point, a bazillion other entertainment news outlets.

HMSS wishes the fantastically wealthy and improbably good-looking newly-minted couple much happiness in their future together.

PRESS RELEASE: Ian Fleming Publications Ltd Appoints Curtis Brown As New Agents For Bond

1:17 PM Friday 24 Jun 2011

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd has appointed Jonny Geller and Curtis Brown to represent the Ian Fleming James Bond novels and future James Bond literary works, worldwide.
Following the great success of Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver, Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks and the Young Bond series by Charlie Higson, Ian Fleming Publications looks forward to providing further enjoyment for the millions of James Bond fans, both young and old, and for future generations.

Corinne Turner, MD of IFPL, said:

“In these changing times, it is important that there is a co-ordinated representation of the Ian Fleming Bond novels and our new 007 projects worldwide, and we are very excited by the prospect of working with a literary agency that combines over one hundred years of experience with such a bright, enthusiastic and forward-thinking team.”

Jonny Geller, MD of Curtis Brown books division, said:

“This is a huge honour for our agency.  Ian Fleming is quite simply one of the world’s most successful and well –managed literary estates. The aim for us is clear: to marshall all of Curtis Brown’s resources to bring a new generation of readers to Ian Fleming’s work. By using the specialist skills of different agents within Curtis Brown we intend to build on the wonderful work that the Fleming company has already achieved.”

Curtis Brown will also look after the James Bond novels written by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner and Raymond Benson as well as translation rights in the Young Bond series by Charlie Higson.

For Your Eyes Only’s 30th anniversary: 007 returns to earth

The James Bond film series ended the 1970s with one of its most extravagent entries, Moonraker, where James Bond went into outer space. For the first Bond film of a new decade, producer Albert R. Broccoli opted to bring the gentleman agent back down to earth in For Your Eyes Only.

Moonraker hadn’t used much of Ian Fleming. For Your Eyes Only would tap the plots of two Fleming short stories, For Your Eyes Only and Risico. Both had been published in the same 1960 collection of short stories by Fleming. Broccoli brought back screenwriter Richard Maibaum, who hadn’t been involved with Moonraker, to write the new movie. Broccoli collaborated with Broccoli’s stepson Michael G. Wilson on the script.

The pair invented a “McGuffin” to marry the two short story plots. A British submarine sinks equipped with a signaling device that, if it falls into the wrong hands, could be used to order U.K. submarines to attack U.K. cities. Naturally, KGB spymaster General Gogol covets the device and contacts “our usual friend in Greece” to secure it. As a result, For Your Eyes Only would have the strongest Cold War feel in the series since 1963’s From Russia With Love.

While Maibaum was back, other Bond crew veterans were not. John Barry didn’t score the film and Broccoli hired Bill Conti instead. The producer, instead of hiring a previous 007 film director, promoted second unit director/film editor John Glen. Ken Adam bid adieu to the series with Moonraker, so Broccoli promoted Peter Lamont as production designer.

With all the crew changes, though, Broccoli ended up bringing back Roger Moore to play Bond. By this time, Moore’s original Bond contract had expired and there were questions whether the actor would return for a fifth film. The film’s opening appears to have been written and shot to introduce a new Bond. 007 goes to visit the grave of his late wife Tracy from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. We don’t see Bond’s face until after he’s laid flowers atop the grave.

The film very much had a “back to basics” feel. Moore/Bond even throws a hat on the coatrack of Miss Moneypenny’s office, similar to Sean Connery in the early Bond movies. The MI6 cover name of Universal Exports was revived. The movie ended up being a blend of the familiar and new. Besides the crew changes, title designer Maurice Binder changed things up by having singer Sheena Easton actually appear in the main titles.

The one constant: For Your Eyes Only did well enough at the box office to ensure future Bond film adventures. Here’s the trailer that audiences saw in the summer of 1981:

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig square off in badassery vote

Official poster. Click for big-ass version.

Strictly speaking, this isn’t James Bond news at all, but it’s still kind of fun.

The Huffington Post is carrying an article about the upcoming sci-fi western Cowboys & Aliens, Jon Favreau’s hotly anticipated genre mashup starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. It’s the usual pre-release publicity puff piece (to put it perfunctorily), but it affords us 007 fans the chance to vote on Who Is the Bigger Present Day Badass?, in a contest between Ford and Craig.

Ford, as Favreau pointed out, is an all-time legend; he’s played two of the most iconic action heroes of all time, in Indiana Jones and Han Solo. He also punched terrorists off of his plane as President in Air Force One, making him the toughest Commander in Chief since Teddy Roosevelt. But in present days, Craig can give him a run for his money; the Englishman helped revive and transform the James Bond franchise, and is headed into his third run as 007.

So, go read the article ‘Cowboys & Aliens’: Favreau, Howard & Spielberg Talk ‘Bad*ss’ Epic and check out the accompanying video. Then, do your duty as a James Bond fan — and vote!

Who's the bigger badass? Click to embiggin.


Deadline says U.N.C.L.E. movie starts filming in February

Director Steven Soderbergh, who intends to retire from directing by age 50, gave an interview to the Deadline entertainment-news Web site. Deadline’s Mike Fleming, who conducted the interview writes Soderberg will start his movie based on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in February 2012.

Here’s the schedule that Fleming lays out for Soderbergh’s remaining films:

Soderbergh said he’ll start work in September on Magic Mike, the film that will star Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer as male strippers in a coming-of-age story reminiscent of Saturday Night Fever. He’ll follow by directing George Clooney in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in February. After that, Liberace with Michael Douglas and Damon will likely be Soderbergh’s swan song.

There’s no real mention of U.N.C.L.E. beyond that. A blog that’s part of New York magazine’s Web site disclosed in April that Soderberg’s TV and movie watching list included almost every first-season Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode. Still, Warner Bros, which controls the original series, has been mum. So we’ll see what happens.

How honest should former 007 crew members be?

Martin Campbell, two-time 007 director who helmed the new Green Lantern movie, has caused a bit of a stir among James Bond fans. While promoting his new film, Campbell got asked about what he thought about Quantum of Solace, the 2008 followup to 2006’s Casino Royale that Campbell directed. His answer, in interviews such as the one he did for Crave Online he spoke plainly:

Crave Online: What do you think of the way they’ve taken the Bond series after Casino Royale with Quantum of Solace?

Martin Campbell: Oh, I thought it was lousy. And hopefully this next one will be terrific. Sam Mendes is directing it and I’m sure it’ll be terrific.

Crave Online: Why didn’t you like it? Were there themes from Casino Royale you were hoping they’d pick up on?

Martin Campbell: No, I just thought the story was pretty uninteresting. I didn’t think the action was related to the characters. I just thought overall it was a bit of a mess really.

Message board of Bond fan Web sites, Facebook and other Internet destinations lit up. Some fans have suggested Campbell was unseemingly, ungentlemanly and just plain nasty to Eon Productions, which makes the 007 films.

A couple of observations:

1. Campbell was asked by an interviewer about his opinion and he evidently answered honestly. At the very least, it wasn’t the canned pap that comes as actors, directors and producers stick to planned talking points. Also, Campbell didn’t criticize QoS director Marc Forster, or anyone else associated with the 2008 film by name. Some fans felt Campbell was personally dissing Forster.

2. Campbell isn’t the only former crew member of a Bond film to stray into candid remarks. A few examples:

Ken Adam: The seven-time Bond production designer told U.K. film historian Adrian Turner part of the reason he left the series after 1979’s Moonraker. “The production team had changed and, in my opinion not for better — except for Cubby Broccoli who is an old friend and who I worked for even before the Bonds. I just would not have felt comfortable being associated with some of the new people involved.”

Adam didn’t name names. But this was around the time that Michael G. Wilson, Broccoli’s stepson, was taking on greater responsibility with the movies. He was “special assistant to producer” in The Spy Who Loved Me (credit in small type) then was promoted to executive producer (credit in big type) in Moonraker. He added co-screenwriter to his titles with 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, which Adam didn’t participate in.

Guy Hamilton: The director of four Bond movies, including Goldfinger, told Turner that producer Albert R. Broccoli was “the tit and bum man” of the early Eon Productions team of producers. Interesting description for someone who’d eventually win the Irving G. Thalberg Award, a big deal in Hollywood. Hamitlon also told the film historian that producer Harry Saltzman, Broccoli’s partner for the first nine 007 films, “had the subtlety of an ape.”

Guy, tell us what you really feel.

The point is that people, even when they’re doing what they love for a career, have mixed feelings about individuals and situations.

In Campbell’s case, he’s 70 years old. In terms of Bond, his two films, GoldenEye and Casino Royale, were the 007 debut for Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig and big hits. That’s a big legacy for the Bond series.

But, you may ask, isn’t he closing the door to doing another Bond movie?

Eon has made all of three films since 1999. Campbell has little incentive on waiting on another opportunity from Eon. The number of films he has left is probably pretty limited; to cite some superstar directors, Howard Hawks’s last film was released when he was 74, while the last films of John Ford and Alfred Hitchock came out when each director was 75. Also, as we said before, Campbell’s remarks weren’t personal and were tamer than others.

For some Bond fans, though, honesty may not be the best policy. James Bond films are a type of fantasy. Straight talk by people who used to work in the franchise remind us it’s still a job, a job that has frustrations and trying moments like other jobs. That disrupts the fantasy.

NPR interviews Jeffery Deaver about Carte Blanche

Over the weekend, NPR’s Scott Simon interviewed Jeffery Deaver on the network’s Weekend Edition Saturday about the author’s new James Bond novel, Carte Blanche. To check it out, you can JUST CLICK HERE. You can hear the audio and read a transcript of the interview.

The audio runs almost eight minutes. Subjects include a cocktail that Deaver invented for Bond in the novel.

Octopussy, a reappraisal

Octopussy, the 1983 James Bond film, doesn’t get love from some 007 fans, particularly those fans who first got the Bond habit from the Sean Connery films of the 1960s. That includes editors from our parent site, HMSS, where a survey of editors gave it no higher than a B letter grade, with mostly Cs and Ds.

Watching it again recently reminds us the film is hardly a lost cause. Granted, it doesn’t have much Ian Fleming content. The author’s Octopussy short story provides the backstory of the movie’s female lead (Maud Adams). An auction scene, is based on another short story, The Property of a Lady.

Still, there are sequences that evoke Fleming. The best example is a sequence right after the main titles, set in East Berlin, where a double-O agent attempts to pass along vital information.

For star Roger Moore, who was 54 when filming began in the summer of 1982, Octopussy was an opportunity. Under other circumstances, Eon Productions might hired a new Bond. Indeed, Eon did screen test American James Brolin for the Bond role.

But going into production, Eon knew it was going to have 007 competition in the form of Never Say Never Again, a Thunderball remake starring Sean Connery. Eon eventually concluded this wasn’t the time for a new actor and brought Moore back. And the “Battle of the Bonds” was underway.

Some actors may have wilted under such pressure. But Moore seems to be thriving. The actor exhibits a kind of cockiness, a confidence that he knows exactly what he’s doing. He out-cheats Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) is a game of backgammon. He later seems to be having a great time fighting off Kamal’s thugs along with MI6 operative Vijay (Vijay Amritraj):

At the same time, when Vijay ends up being the film’s “sacrificial lamb,” Moore/Bond doesn’t laugh it off; he seems quite touched by the loss of a fellow agent. Up to that point, Bond and Vijay had demonstrated good chemistry. As a result, Vijay is one of the best “sacrificial lambs” of the Eon-produced series. Even after the character’s death, Bond is reminded of him while in Berlin. John Barry’s sad music adds to the scene without overpowering it.

Is Octopussy a perfect Bond adventure? No. Its comic elements get too strong at times, in particular a Tarzan yell Bond makes while being hunted in India by Kamal’s men. Later, he gets in and out of a gorilla suit impossibly quickly. Still, there is a sense of adventure, even joy at times. Sequences set in Germany, including an extended action sequence on a train with Bond constantly in peril, tend overall to be more serious than the ones set in India.

A viewer does get the impression that Eon, because of Never Say Never Again, pulled out the stops. At one point, both the two Bond films were scheduled to come out one week apart. Never Say Never Again, however, ended up delayed until the fall of 1983. But Eon had to assume Never would meet its original summer release date.

Octopussy was made by “journeymen” such as director John Glen and screenwriter Richard Maibaum (aided in this installment by George MacDonald Fraser and Michael G. Wilson). They didn’t have the critical acclaim of recent Eon hires. But, looking at it again, Octopussy is miles ahead of films such as Quantum of Solace, which featured a critically acclaimed director (Marc Forester) and an equally critically acclaimed writer, Paul Haggis. But you can actually tell what’s happening in the action sequences (something you can’t say about Quantum). Also, at times, Octopussy has an elegance about it, another aspect Quantum lacked.

For those who don’t like any 007 film with Roger Moore (which includes some of our staff), that’s not enough. For others, Octopussy is a Bond movie that’s easy to take for granted. It shouldn’t be, though. Bond films are harder than they look to make, something “prestige” hires such as Marc Forester and Paul Haggis, should have discovered by now.

Jeffery Deaver on Ian Fleming

The June 10 Houston Star-Telegram is carrying a nicely-done piece about Carte Blanche author Jeffery Deaver’s experiences with the world of Ian Fleming.

A lifelong fan of the literary James Bond after reading his first Fleming novel at the tender age of eight, Deaver says the excitement he felt from those books is one of the reasons he wanted to be a writer. After receiving an invitation from Ian Fleming Publications to write a (one-off) 007 adventure, he “took all of five seconds” to jump on board.

Photo © Associated Press

Carte Blanche, in updating the Bond saga to the right-this-minute post-9/11, post-7/7 world, has rung some changes on the character and his world that we’ve since heard about. He and the publishers also decided that Deaver would retain his own authorial style…

…that he would not attempt to write the book mimicking Fleming’s style.

“Sebastian [Faulks] is a brilliant literary writer and he pulled if off very well in his book… “But I would not presume to do that. Nor do I have the talent to do that.”

David Martindale’s article also lists some of the author’s favorite Fleming things: Favorite Bond novel, Favorite Bond moment, and favorite Bond villains and girls. You’ll have to read Jeffery Deaver attains double-o status as new Bond writer to learn which.

Published in the US by Simon & Schuster, Carte Blanche drops this coming Tuesday, June 14. Watch the HMSS Weblog for pointers to the reviews and reactions from the US-based critics, as well as our own humble editor’s thoughts.

Hawaii Five-O season 11 DVDs coming out in September

The DVD set of season 11 of the original Hawaii Five-O series is coming out in September, according to the CBSstore.com Web site. It will ship ON SEPT. 20.

As we’ve mentioned before, season 11 features a number of former spy actors, including series star Jack Lord (the original film Felix Leiter), ex-007 George Lazenby, former Man From U.N.C.L.E. Robert Vaughn and Ross Martin, who played Artemus Gordon on The Wild, Wild West. The season 11 set was originally supposed to be out in April.

A tip of the hat goes to Mike Quigley’s Five-O/Five-0 fan Web site, where we spotted the information.